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Indian J Dent Res. 2019 Mar-Apr;30(2):291-299. doi: 10.4103/ijdr.IJDR_9_17.

Teeth in forensics: A review.

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Department of Pediatric and Preventive Dentistry, Bharati Vidyapeeth Deemed University Dental College and Hospital, Pune, Maharashtra, India.


With the ever-increasing crime rate in our society, the field of forensic sciences has become highly evolved. Forensic dentists play a pivotal role in various areas of crime scene investigations and thereby help solve innumerable mysteries. Teeth appear to be vital pieces of evidence in several such investigations. Teeth are preserved in the closed cavities of the mouth and are generally resistant to the threatening environmental conditions that may be associated with the death of an individual, making them very useful in postmortem analysis. Teeth thus obtained may be useful in age estimation of the deceased victim or in determining his blood group. Identification of individuals in mass disasters can also be performed based on the unique morphological characteristics of the human dentition and through dental DNA fingerprinting. Again teeth play an all important role in catching a culprit through the positive correlation of the bite marks left behind at the crime scene and the suspect's own teeth marks. Thus, teeth prove to be an important adjunct in forensics. Its scope is ever-increasing with time, and a great amount of research is being carried out to implement the same. A PubMed, MEDLINE, and Scopus search was conducted of the past 70 years using several search terms like "Forensic odontology," "history of forensic odontology," "dental DNA fingerprinting," "forensic age estimation," "age estimation from teeth" and "bitemarks." Other articles and textbook references which were considered to be important were also included in this study. The articles gathered were divided into the following groups: history of forensic odontology, teeth and DNA (dental DNA fingerprinting), teeth and blood grouping, teeth and age estimation, and teeth in bite marks.


Age estimation; bite marks; blood grouping; dental DNA fingerprinting; forensic dentistry; teeth

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