Forensic dentistry is used in situations like establishing the identity of unrecognizable deceased individual, identification of an assailant by the bite marks he left on the skin of his victim, medico-legal assessment of trauma relating to oral tissues, and testimony about dental malpractice. Forensic dentistry identification can be the single most helpful or acceptable solution in cases when other types of identification (fingerprints, face recognition, etc.) cannot be realized.
Forensic dentistry experts rely on the exceptional resistance of teeth to particular drastic conditions - such as fire or explosion - that can destroy any other human body tissues. Forensic dentistry identification relies on the comparison between dental remains of the decedent and the antemortem (before death) records. These can be found at local dentistry professionals.
The most commonly used techniques in forensic dentistry are x-rays, models, microscopy, and photography. Sometimes experts don't have precise suppositions about the possible identity of the deceased. In this case, different techniques in forensic dentistry are used for limiting the population pool that the decedent might belong to.
Modern forensic dentistry offers the possibility to determine the age and sex of a deceased person by examining dental remains. For this scope advanced forensic dentistry techniques and methods are used. For example, the Bang and Ramm method uses sectioned teeth. Teeth are sectioned, photographed, and scaled in image analysis software. (Pretty I.A., Journal of Forensic Science 2003 Sep; 48(5):1127-32.)
The most commonly used technique is the use of forensic dentistry radiographs. For best comparison radiographs in deceased are made in the same incidences and angles like the antemortem images. It is not simple because mandibular musculature of a deceased person is fixed in rigor mortis. An important achievement for forensic dentistry radiology was the designing of a self-supporting film holder that maintains intra-oral films in the mouths of deceased people.
Dental radiology permits identification of edentulous individuals; comparing radiographs of the maxilla. The most important condition imposed to techniques in forensic dentistry is accuracy. Forensic dentistry techniques must be extremely precise. Any errors can be crucial. That is why experts appeal to most innovative and advanced techniques and different digital imaging methods. They offer great comparison possibilities in two- and three-dimensional modes, permit magnifying the image to 200% - 300% and more, performing exact measurement, effectuating direct metric and morphologic comparison.
Digital imaging methods are also used in bite mark identification. Each bite mark discovered on the skin of the victim is photographed by experts. After that it is digitally processed and compared to the supposed aggressor's dental records. Different techniques in forensic dentistry are also widely applied in criminology, being of great use in cases where traditional forensic methods are useless.