Dentists Aid in Helping the Forensic Community
Did you know that dentistry plays a very important role in the forensic community? Some dentists specialize their degree by taking courses that enable them to work with forensic scientists to investigate crimes. In unfortunate cases where death is involved, an odontologist will attend the autopsy. Typically they take cranial measurements, dental impressions and also x-rays. Often times, dentists who do this type of work perform regular dentistry most of the time.
Who knows, maybe one day you will work for a forensic dentist!
A person’s teeth are uniquely different to them. Just like fingerprints! So simply by looking at a person’s tooth you can identify them through previous dental records/impressions and get more information about the case. As a dental assistant, it is required that offices keep impression models for a certain number of years in case they would be needed for a forensic case. So in turn, part of your job might include organizing and keeping track of dental models over the years.
You can tell a lot about a person’s habits by what their teeth look like as well. If their occlusal surfaces are worn down, this indicates clenching and grinding, which could mean they were stressed. Smokers typically have yellow-ish tints and receding gum lines.
Teeth (enamel specifically) is the hardest substance in the human body. So in case of a fire, people can be identified by their teeth which can withstand up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, remnants of gold or amalgam can be found at the scene which aids in identification.
Fun Fact: History & Odontology
1692 was the first instance of odontology being used in a criminal case in the United States. During the Salem Witch Trials, Reverend George Burroughs was accused of witchcraft and biting his victims. The judges accepted the bite marks as valid evidence and he was hanged.
For questions about our 12-week dental assisting program or EFDA course, don’t hesitate to call!