Course Introduction

FSP 501 : Forensic Odontology

  • Course Outline
  • Curriculum
  • FAQ
  • Case Studies
  • Reviews

The word “Odontology” is comprised of two Greek words “odonto” which suggests “tooth” and “logos” mean “study”, also termed as “Forensic Dentistry”. Therefore, in a very precise manner, dentistry are often outlined as a science that deals with the study of human dentition. However in broad terms, Forensic dentistry, additionally referred to as Forensic medical specialty, is that the application of dental experience to system or for the aim of law or justice. The scope of Forensic dentistry focuses on 3 main aspects that are: the identification of unknown remains by teeth, jaw and craniofacial remains, analysis of oro-facial trauma connected with personal abuse and dental jurisprudence.


The history of the respective Forensic medical specialty dates back to forty nine B.C. once Agrippina (mother of Emperor of Rome Nero) ordered the death of her rival Lollia Paulina, who was rival with her, to be the better half of Emperor Claudius. Agrippina needed to check Paulina's head as a symptom of her death, however she wasn't certain that her challenger was dead till she detected Paulina's distinctive stained front teeth.


Another noted case of Forensic dentistry recorded in history was that of Paul Revere, who additionally to being associate Yankee silver-worker was additionally a tooth doctor. He was the one who helped establish the identity of the Revolutionary War dead World Health Organization had been buried on the piece of ground, on the idea of their teeth and dental work.


Human Dentition has three characteristics in common, that imparts a noticeably distinctive and salient mode of identification by the utilization of dental records. The 3 distinctive traits are, they being diphyodont (occur in two generations), thecodont (being embedded in a bony socket) and heterodont (bearing typical morphological structures).


General Applications of Forensic dentistry in legal prospects are: Forensic medical specialty plays an important role in establishing associate personal identity of the unidentified human remains. Within the cases of mass disasters, wherever the quantity of deceased exceeds the capability of native jurisdiction answerable for Forensic investigation; then Forensic dentistry is that the final and most powerful tool which will be used for the identification of mass disaster victim’s by analysing their ante-mortem dental records. Bite-mark analysis is that the most vital requisite of a Forensic Odontologist. Bite-mark injuries are unremarkably encountered in cases associated with sexual assaults, ill-treatment or abuse etc. Bite-marks are of great worth, as they will facilitate in establishing the identity of the wrongdoer of the crime. In cases of alleged abuse, bite-mark analysis is of utmost significance, as already mentioned. But, in addition disfigurement of oro-facial bones owing to injury will aid within the assessment of cases of abuse. Age estimation of associate unidentified body are often done close to victimization the dental records. As a matter of reality, we tend to all recognize that at a particular age solely bound teeth erupt. Thus, estimation older is of prime importance for associate investigator. In addition, associate professional Forensic odontologists will even confirm the race associated sex of an unidentified stay.


This course would very competently and with an apt practical sessions would provide the students to understand and acquaint themselves with the basics of the science of dentistry and its utility in cases pertaining to legal admissibility of the bite-marks.

  • Level I : Forensic Odontology

    MODULE 1 – FORENSIC ODONTOLOGY

    Forensic odontology is the application of dental science to legal investigations, which involves the identification of the criminal by comparing its dental records with the bite mark left at the scene or on the victim. This module has given a brief overview of the Forensic Odontology which majorly covers its various aspects like historical perspective, career, scope and role of forensic odontologist, qualification required to become a forensic dentist, and medico-legal significance.

    MODULE 2 – HUMAN TOOTH IDENTIFICATION

    This module provides information about history, purpose, principles, and different aspects of human tooth identification. Basically there are two forms of dental identification i.e. comparative dental identification and reconstructive dental identification. Human dental identification comprising of three steps i.e. postmortem dental identification, ante-mortem dental identification, and comparison of postmortem and ante-mortem dental records. Whereas in reconstructive dental identification, forensic odontologist attempts to elicit the population affinity or race, sex, age, and occupation of the deceased. This module also covers the topic of DNA profiling, identification through palatal rugae, medical conditions and treatment, habits and addiction, and occupational hazards.

    MODULE 3 – FORENSIC ODONTOLOGY IN MASS DISASTERS AND ITS MANAGEMENT

    Age is known as an important factor for the determination of a person’s identity. This module contains the identification process that comes under the sub-discipline of forensic science and mainly essential when the identity of the deceased is unknown. This module also encompasses the principles of age estimation using dentition, need of age estimation, and chronological age estimation. The establishment of chronological age is considered as an important topic for most of society, social benefits, marriage, and employment. The module also covers the topic dentition as an age indicator, morphological methods for the assessment of age in adults, and age-related changes in teeth.

    MODULE 4 – BITE MARKS

    This particular module has explicitly dealt with the introduction of the Bite marks including the history, nature, and the mechanism of bite mark. The module also covers the nomenclature, classification on different basis, impression, and study casts. This module also describes the appearance and factors affecting Bite marks Injuries also the significance of bite marks as physical, biological, and psychological evidence.

    MODULE 5 – BITE MARK ANALYSIS

    This particular module explains about the introduction and history of the bite mark analysis. The different steps involved in bite mark investigation are also discussed here. The analysis of the bite mark which is discussed in this module is used for finding the victims and the suspect from the starting of the history recorded. The analysis includes the examination and comparison of the bite mark evidence. Significance and limitations of the bite mark evidence are also explained here, which enrich the student’s knowledge.

  • Level II : Forensic Odontology

    MODULE 1 – FORENSIC ODONTOLOGY

    Forensic odontology is the application of dental science to legal investigations, which involves the identification of the criminal by comparing its dental records with the bite mark left at the scene of crime or on the victim. This module has given a brief overview to the Forensic Odontology which majorly covers its various aspects like historical perspective, career, scope, and role of forensic odontologist, qualification required to become a forensic dentist, and medico-legal significance.

    MODULE 2 – HUMAN TOOTH IDENTIFICATION

    This module provides information about history, purpose, principles, and different aspects of human tooth identification. Basically there are two forms of dental identification i.e. comparative dental identification and reconstructive dental identification. Human dental identification comprising of three steps i.e. postmortem dental identification, ante-mortem dental identification, and comparison of postmortem and ante-mortem dental records. Whereas in reconstructive dental identification, forensic odontologist attempts to elicit the population affinity or race, sex, age, and occupation of the deceased. This module also covers the topic of DNA profiling, identification through palatal rugae, medical conditions and treatment, habits and addiction, and occupational hazards.

    MODULE 3 – AGE ESTIMATION

    Age is known as an important factor for the determination of a person’s identity. This is the identification process that comes under the sub-discipline of forensic science and mainly essential when the identity of the deceased is unknown. This module also encompasses the principles of age estimation using dentition, need of age estimation, and chronological age estimation. The establishment of chronological age is considered an important topic for most of the society, social benefits, marriage, and employment. The module also covers the topic dentition as an age indicator, morphological methods for the assessment of age in adults, and age-related changes in teeth.

    MODULE 4 – FORENSIC ODONTOLOGY IN MASS DISASTERS AND ITS MANAGEMENT

    Mass disasters occur in a sudden and unforeseen fashion and they generally range from natural to man-made disasters, finite, ongoing, open and closed ones. DVI helps in managing the scene of catastrophe in an organized and sequential way. The module encompasses introduction, history, types of mass disasters, and disaster scene management including the organization, duties, and functions of various dental teams. The module will also enrich the knowledge of students about Disaster Victim Identification (DVI).

    MODULE 5 – BITE MARKS

    This particular module has explicitly dealt with the introduction of the Bite marks including the history, nature, and the mechanism of bite mark. The module also covers the nomenclature, classification on different basis, impression, and study casts. This module also describes the appearance and factors affecting Bite marks Injuries also the significance of bite marks as physical, biological, and psychological evidence.

    MODULE 6 – BITE MARK ANALYSIS

    This particular module explains about the introduction and history of the bite mark analysis. The different steps involved in bite mark investigation are also discussed here. The analysis of the bite mark which is discussed in this module is used for finding the victims and the suspect from the starting of the history recorded. The analysis includes the examination and comparison of the bite mark evidence. Significance and limitations of the bite mark evidence are also explained here, which enrich the student’s knowledge.

    MODULE 7 – ROLE OF DENTISTRY IN DETECTING AND PREVENTING CHILD ABUSE

    In this module, the occurrence of child abuse and neglect worldwide has been discussed, as well as the importance of the dental professionals in recognizing and reporting the abuse. Child abuse is a complex problem, therefore the major aim of all the dental professional is to understand the clinical symptoms of different types of child abuse such as physical, sexual, emotional and dental neglect and do the needful for legal consideration by documenting the injuries and reporting to the child protective services. The module also encompasses the appropriate intervention, role of dentist, documentation, reporting suspicious, and Prevent Abuse and Neglect through Dental Awareness (P.A.N.D.A).

    MODULE 8 – LEGAL ISSUES CONCERNING BITE MARK EVIDENCE

    Forensic odontologist plays an important role in criminal and civil both cases by giving opinion regarding dental identification of the deceased, identification of suspect’s dentition from tooth mark within a pattern injury related to human abuses and identification of victims in mass disasters. The main objective of the forensic odontologist is to provide witness testimony in the court of law in criminal cases for identifying the deceased. Present module gives the information regarding the legal factors of evidence collection and its use in court, fourth amendment: arrest, search and seizure, admissibility of expert evidence based on relevancy and reliability, national academy of science (2009) review of bite mark evidence, types of dental testimony by dentists. The module also covers the information about who can testify as an expert on bite mark evidence, court admissibility of bite mark opinion, scientific limitation of bite mark testimony, and wrongful bite marks testimony that were overturned by DNA.

  • Level III : Forensic Odontology

    MODULE 1 – FORENSIC ODONTOLOGY

    Forensic odontology is the application of dental science to legal investigations, which involves the identification of the criminal by comparing its dental records with the bite mark left at the scene of crime or on the victim. This module has given a brief overview to the Forensic Odontology which majorly covers its various aspects like historical perspective, career, scope and role of forensic odontologist, qualification required to become a forensic dentist and medico-legal significance.

    MODULE 2 – HUMAN TOOTH DEVELOPMENT

    This module provide the information about the development of human tooth from its initial level, endodontic anatomy of tooth, its types and function, chronological pattern of the development of human dentition, process of eruption and shedding (pattern, mechanism and clinical consideration) of deciduous & permanent teeth. This also covers different forces effecting sequence of eruption, notation system (universal, Zsigmondy and Federation Dentaire Internationale) applied and dental anomalies encountered in dental.

    MODULE 3 – DECIDUOUS AND PERMANENT TEETH

    Humans mainly have two types of teeth in their lifetime one is primary or deciduous dentition (erupts in an infant) while another is permanent or secondary dentition (erupts after the shedding of the milk/deciduous teeth). Therefore this module covers the general description, chronological development and significance of deciduous and permanent teeth. Module also provide information about mixed dentition and the significant point of difference between the deciduous and permanent dentition.

    MODULE 4 – OCCLUSION

    Occlusion is the phenomena of natural contacting between the maxillary teeth to the mandibular teeth. A detailed study of occlusion as well as different aspects related to the study of occlusal surface covered in this module. Therefore this module provide detailed information about the topics-development of occlusion, factors affecting occlusion, cups, fossa and marginal ridge relations, lateral, protrusive and retrusive movements, biomechanics of chewing function, malocclusion and clinical significance of normal occlusion.

    MODULE 5 – DENTAL ANOMALIES

    Any changes present due positioning, shape, size, number, appearance, structure, color, etc. or in any other feature of teeth will referred to as dental anomaly. These alterations in the tooth are found prevalently in the maxillary region than the mandibular region and the also the chances of occurrence of these anomalies are more in the permanent dentition. So, this module provide the detailed information of development anomalies present in teeth due to its size, number, shape, structure, color and in other structures like jaws, gingiva, tongue.

    MODULE 6 – HUMAN TOOTH IDENTIFICATION

    This module provides the information of about history, purpose, principles and different aspects of human tooth identification. Basically there are two forms of dental identification i.e. comparative dental identification and reconstructive dental identification. Human dental identification comprising of three steps i.e. postmortem dental identification, ante mortem dental identification and comparison of postmortem and antemortem dental records. Whereas in reconstructive dental identification, forensic odontologist attempts to elicit the population affinity or race, sex, age, and occupation of the deceased. This module also covers the topic of DNA profiling, identification through palatal rugae, medical conditions and treatment, habits and addiction and occupational hazards.

    MODULE 7 – AGE ESTIMATION

    Age is known as the important factors for the determination of a person’s identity. This is the identification process that comes under the sub discipline of forensic science and mainly essential when the identity of the deceased is unknown. This module also encompasses with the principles of age estimation using dentition, need of age estimation, and chronological age estimation. The establishment of chronological age is considered as an important topic for most of the society, social benefits, marriage and employments. The module also covers the topic dentition as an age indicator, morphological methods for the assessment of age in adults and age related changes in teeth.

    MODULE 8 – FORENSIC ODONTOLOGY IN MASS DISASTERS AND ITS MANAGEMENT

    Mass disasters occurs in a sudden and unforeseen fashion and they generally ranges from natural to man-made disasters, finite, ongoing, open and closed ones. DVI helps in managing the scene of catastrophe in an organized and sequential way. The module encompasses introduction, history, types of mass disasters and disaster scene management including the organization, duties and functions of various dental teams. The module will also enrich the knowledge of student about Disaster Victim Identification (DVI).

    MODULE 9 – BITE MARKS

    This particular module has explicitly dealt with the introduction of the Bite marks including the history, nature and the mechanism of bite mark. The module also covers the nomenclature, classification on different basis, impression and study casts. This module also describes the appearance and factors affecting Bite marks Injuries also the significance of bite marks as a physical, biological and Psychological evidence.

    MODULE 10 – BITE MARK ANALYSIS

    This particular module explains about the introduction and history of the bite mark analysis. The different steps involved in bite mark investigation are also discussed here. The analysis of the bite mark which is discussed in this module is used for finding the victims and the suspect from the starting of the history recorded. The analysis include the examination and comparison of the bite mark evidence. Significance and limitations of the bite mark evidence are also explained here, which enrich the student’s knowledge.

    MODULE 11 – ROLE OF DENTISTRY IN DETECTING AND PREVENTING CHILD ABUSE

    In this module, occurrence of child abuse and neglect in worldwide has been discussed, as well as the importance of the dental professionals in recognizing and reporting the abuse. Child abuse is a complex problem, therefore the major aim of all the dental professional is to understand the clinical symptoms of different types of child abuse such as physical, sexual, emotional and dental neglect and needful for legal consideration by documenting the injuries and reporting to the child protective services. The module also encompasses the appropriate intervention, role of dentist, documentation, reporting suspicious and Prevent Abuse and Neglect through Dental Awareness (P.A.N.D.A).

    MODULE 12 – LEGAL ISSUES CONCERNING BITE MARK EVIDENCE

    Forensic odontologist plays an important role in criminal and civil both cases by giving opinion regarding dental identification of the deceased, identification of suspect’s dentition from tooth mark within a pattern injury related to human abuses and identification of victims in mass disasters. The main objective of the forensic odontologist is to provide witness testimony in the court of law in criminal cases for identifying the deceased. Present module gives the information regarding the legal factors of evidence collection and its use in court, fourth amendment: arrest, search and seizure, admissibility of expert evidence based on relevancy and reliability, national academy of science (2009) review of bite mark evidence, types of dental testimony by dentists. The module also covers the information about who can testify as an expert on bite mark evidence, court admissibility of bite mark opinion, scientific limitation of bite mark testimony, and wrongful bite marks testimony that were overturned by DNA.

  • What is Forensic Odontology?

    Forensic Odontology, also termed as Forensic Dentistry is described as the application of dental science and techniques, in the cases pertaining to the involvement of legal bodies. This science is commonly applied in cases of physical abuse, sexual assaults, and mass disasters.

  • How can I become a Forensic Odontologist?

    Learners will be acquainted with comprehensive requirements and the techniques employed to prove the suspect guilty before the court of law as to ensure an actual verdict in favor of the victim. This course would groom the students in a way, that they will be able to present themselves as an Expert Witness before the court, equipped with ample skills and knowledge of the subject.

  • What are the responsibilities of a Forensic Odonotologist?

    As a Forensic Odontologist, one is asked to investigate and analyse the case of mass, disaster, sexual assault, and other cases involving bite marks or any evidence related to dentition. The Expert identifies the individual in some cases and opine for the same. 

  • What are the scope and the opportunistic aspects of the course?

    As an Expert, learners will be able to grab the opportunities as Forensic Odontologist at various private hospitals, labs and can be appointed as a Faculty in Various related educational institutions. They can also be hired in Central and State Forensic Labs. 

  • Where can I contact in case of any queries?

    You can write to us at education@sifs.in or call us at +91-1147074263 or WhatsApp us +91-7303913002 or +91-7303913003.


27 Year Old Lady Case

The case relates to the murder of a 27-year-old lady in an isolated rural area while she was going for work on 09.09.2002. The post-mortem report revealed deep injuries to the head and neck due to stabbing. The investigation could not make any breakthrough as there were no eyewitnesses or scientific evidence. The only object obtained from the scene of crime was a partial denture.

The case was subsequently handed over to the Crime Branch in 2005. The line of investigation was then centered on the partial denture recovered from the scene of crime. The suspect who had been zeroed on was a 59-year-old neighbour who used to accompany her quite often. The Crime branch approached the Government Dental College, Calicut on information of possible identification of the partial denture wearer using Forensic odontology methods.

The Department of Prosthodontics made impressions and study models of the suspect’s jaws using irreversible hydrocolloid material and type III Dental stone. These included full arch and anterior segmental models.

Detailed intraoral clinical examination of the suspect revealed missing upper right central incisor. The site of missing upper right central incisor had a deep notch extending from the buccal to the palatal surface. Spacing was seen in the upper anterior regions between right lateral incisor and canine.

The partial denture which was produced before us was examined, the findings included:

1. It was a single tooth partial denture for the replacement of upper right central incisor.

2.  The intaglio surface of the denture in the region of the replaced tooth had a projection extending from the buccal to palatal surface.

The intraoral findings were compared with that of the partial denture on the models prepared. It was observed that:

1.  The missing tooth of the suspect’s mouth is maxillary right central incisor and the submitted partial denture is also that of a replaced missing right central incisor.

2.   The morphology of the artificial tooth of the partial denture coincides with the natural maxillary left central incisor of the suspect’s mouth.

3.  There is a depression in the region of the edentulous space that extends across the ridge which corresponds to the projection as seen in the partial denture.

4.   The cervical margin of the teeth of the suspect in the region of the maxillary left central and lateral incisors corresponds with the finish line of the partial denture in the same regions.

5.    The partial denture margin closely adapts with the cervical margin of the corresponding natural teeth.

6.   The incisive papilla in the suspect’s mouth corresponds to the depression in the artificial partial denture.

Based on the intraoral findings of the suspect and the partial denture we were of the opinion that the partial denture had been used by the suspect. The same was reported to the Crime Branch who took the suspect into custody. The suspect later confessed of the crime and has been convicted. This has been the first-ever conviction of a suspect using Forensic odontology in the state of Kerala.

The introduction of a uniform system of naming and coding the dentures by dental practitioners will be of immense help in identification. Dental evidence is the most valuable and reliable method like fingerprints. The scope of Forensic odontology is very broad and is a challenging field and the dentist should make unique contributions in the administration of justice.

Sannidhi D D

5

This was a great experience to know more things and explore more knowledge about the odontology which is helpful for the forensic science student and even for much more broad use .Thank you so much sir for brushing up us to shine later in future. And I am going to surely use the knowledge in my field as much as possible and effective .

Rithiksha Ramesh

5

The course provided was amazing I could understand the things and learnt many things. Looking forward for more.

Veluvali Sam Sharon Arnold

4

Really enjoyed the covey learning structure, excellent way to bring the team together...

Anindita Palit

4

Very nice course it was and I am too satisfacted , really informative

 

Instructors

Vaishnavi Thakre

Vaishnavi Thakre

Forensic Expert

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