Forensic odontology is a specialized field of dentistry that focuses on the identification of deceased individuals. This is typically done by comparing autopsy findings and dental records prior to death, which has been proven to be the most reliable method for identification in cases of mass disasters. The primary goal of forensic odontology is to provide the identification process with knowledge of orofacial structures, their variation among people of different backgrounds, and the implications of dental treatment. The master's degree in Forensic Dentistry is designed to educate forensic dentists in qualitative and quantitative research protocols and design methodology.
The aim is to generate valuable forensic research both independently and in collaboration with other educational and research institutions. The program also seeks to develop skills in objective evaluation, consideration, and analysis of a topic in order to form an unbiased judgment or opinion based on intellectual reasoning and truth. In addition, the program seeks to evaluate and critically understand published articles, conduct research in an appropriate manner, and educate forensic dentists in the dynamics of the courts so they can develop their skills as expert witnesses. The disciplines of forensic dentistry have expanded beyond dental identifications to include the recognition and reporting of child and elder abuse, age assessment, and the analysis of bite marks.
Recent advances in this field include the use of computed tomography (CT) images for the identification and examination of pathology, as well as the superposition of three-dimensional dental surfaces before and after death for identification. However, there are not many institutions capable of offering formal training in this field, which may discourage many surgeons from delving into or practicing it even after they have conducted research and received formal education in it.The forensic dentist must possess knowledge and clinical skills necessary to critically evaluate and perform unique, multiple, and massive dental identifications in the event of disasters; estimate human dental age; recognize human abuse and injuries modeled according to the standards and guidelines of the American Board of Forensic Dentistry; provide forensic reports for the presentation of legal medications to forensic doctors and other medico-legal agencies; and develop styles of writing forensic reports for legal proceedings. At present, forensic dentistry remains one of the most reliable, cost-effective, and fastest means of corroborating human identity. It is a fundamental discipline within the forensic sciences that answers all medico-legal issues related to dentition and maxillofacial structures.