Forensic dentistry is a specialized branch of dentistry that focuses on the proper management and examination of dental evidence and the evaluation and presentation of dental findings for the sake of justice. It was first used in 1898 by Oscar Amoedo, who is widely recognized as the father of forensic dentistry, to identify victims of a fire in Paris, France. Since then, it has been used to identify human remains in a variety of incidents, such as terrorist attacks, plane and train accidents, fires, mass killings, and natural disasters like tsunamis, earthquakes, and floods.Forensic dentists work with local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies to review dental records and complete the necessary forms that are entered into the FBI database. This database compares lost and unidentified dental records to determine similarities between decayed, missing, and restored teeth.
If there are potential matches, these records are reviewed by a trained dentist.The main utility of forensic dentistry is the identification of human remains based on individualistic characteristics present in teeth. Bite mark analysis is a subspecialty of forensic dentistry that focuses on identifying perpetrators by comparing dental records with a bite mark left on the victim or at the scene of the crime.Various types of dental tests, techniques, and methods are used in forensic dentistry for identification purposes. These include intraoral radiographs, extraoral radiographs such as orthopantamography, various views of the skull, computed tomography (CT) scans, and cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT). CBCT plays an important role in forensic dentistry in all areas of osteological, dental, and soft tissue aspects: comparison of antemortem with that of post-mortem records.Research is also dedicated to training medical and dental professionals in forensic dentistry.
The International Dental Federation defines forensic dentistry as the branch of dentistry that deals with the proper management and examination of dental evidence and the proper evaluation and presentation of dental findings.