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Indian J Dent Res. 2011 May-Jun;22(3):493. doi: 10.4103/0970-9290.87079.

Comparison between five commonly used two-dimensional methods of human bite mark overlay production from the dental study casts.

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Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology, Vydehi Institute of Dental Science and Research Center, Bangalore, Karnataka, India.



The present study was conducted to determine the most accurate bite mark overlay fabrication technique by studying two physical characteristics, i.e., area and rotation of biting edges of anterior teeth of thirty volunteers. The objective of the study was to evaluate the reliability and efficacy of five commonly used methods of human bite mark overlays using two dimensional (2D) digital images of dental study casts as a gold standard, to rank different methods according to statistically based determination of relative accuracy of each method and to determine its feasibility in Forensic science.


Overlays were produced from the biting surfaces of six upper and six lower anterior teeth of 30 volunteers using the following five methods: a) hand tracing from study casts, b) hand tracing from wax impressions, c) xerographic method, d) radiopaque impression method and e) 2D computer-based method. Area of the biting edges of the anterior teeth and relative rotation of each anterior tooth were measured and compared.


The xerographic method was determined to be the more accurate method with respect to tooth area and rotation. Hand tracing methods, from either wax impressions of teeth or directly from study casts, were determined to be inaccurate and subjective.


It is recommended that forensic odontologists discontinue the use of hand tracing overlays in bite mark comparison cases as there is lot of scope for manipulation and observer bias.

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