Forensic odontology is a critical part of criminal investigations, providing invaluable help in recognizing victims, suspects, and missing persons. It is the application of dentistry in a legal context, and it encompasses the knowledge and skills of dentistry in cases of identification of the person in a massive disaster, natural calamities, massacres, sexual crimes and child abuse. The use of dentistry in forensic medicine is as important as that of fingerprints in identifying people. Avon classified forensic dentistry into civil, criminal and investigative dentistry.
The forensic dentist must have extensive knowledge of general dentistry, covering all dental specialties, and must have basic knowledge of the role of the forensic pathologist and the methods used in autopsy. When combined with DNA technology, forensic odontology takes on a greater role in the judicial system. With proper training, dental teams can play an integral part in forensic odontology by identifying human remains as well as possible signs of abuse or neglect. Forensic dentists identify human remains by comparing dental records before and after death.
They can also facilitate the identification of an individual after prolonged exposure to the environment, when advanced decay has occurred. The British Columbia Institute of Technology has a guide that answers the most common questions about forensic science, including those related to odontology. This overview is an attempt to explain the importance of various types of dental tests, techniques and methods used in forensic odontology for identification purposes. Scholarship programs, continuing education courses, and workshops are ways in which oral health professionals can learn more about opportunities in forensic odontology.
Various forensic odontology techniques help identify human remains in incidents such as terrorist attacks, plane, train and road accidents, fires, mass killings and natural disasters such as tsunamis, earthquakes and floods. Oscar Amoedo is universally recognized as the father of forensic odontology for his work identifying victims of fire accidents in Paris (France) in 1898.Forensic odontology is a complex field that requires extensive knowledge and training. It is essential for criminal investigations and can provide invaluable assistance in recognizing victims or suspects. With proper training and knowledge, dental teams can play an integral role in forensic odontology by using dental prosthetics to identify human remains.