Forensic odontology: the roles and responsibilities of the dentist

J Can Dent Assoc. 2004 Jul-Aug;70(7):453-8.


Dentistry has much to offer law enforcement in the detection and solution of crime or in civil proceedings. Forensic dental fieldwork requires an interdisciplinary knowledge of dental science. Most often the role of the forensic odontologist is to establish a person's identity. Teeth, with their physiologic variations, pathoses and effects of therapy, record information that remains throughout life and beyond. The teeth may also be used as weapons and, under certain circumstances, may leave information about the identity of the biter. Forensic odontology has an important role in the recognition of abuse among persons of all ages. Dental professionals have a major role to play in keeping accurate dental records and providing all necessary information so that legal authorities may recognize malpractice, negligence, fraud or abuse, and identify unknown humans.

MeSH terms

  • Age Determination by Teeth
  • Bites, Human / diagnosis
  • Canada
  • Dental Records / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Dentists
  • Disasters
  • Domestic Violence
  • Forensic Anthropology
  • Forensic Dentistry* / education
  • Humans
  • Professional Role
  • Radiography, Dental
  • Social Responsibility