Odontoma and other congenital dental anomalies: Implications for forensic identification

Congenit Anom (Kyoto). 2023 Sep;63(5):132-140. doi: 10.1111/cga.12533. Epub 2023 Jul 28.


Forensic odontology plays a crucial role in establishing the identity in mass disasters and criminal cases with high accuracy. Dental anomalies and features help in such situations. Congenital and developmental dental anomalies can be easily documented to establish distinctive and individualistic characteristics of an individual. The location, number of teeth involved, and the type of anomaly vary between individuals. Similarly, dental malformations also assist greatly in the identification process. Many types of dental anomalies have been studied in the past for their individualistic characteristics in forensic examinations. One such dental anomaly is odontoma, which is a benign odontogenic malformation. This malformation may also help in the identification of the deceased, when recorded and examined accurately. An odontome is a malformed teeth-like structures consisting of enamel, dentin, and pulpal tissue, formed due to the growth of completely differentiated epithelial and mesenchymal cells. If antemortem (AM) dental records incorporate information regarding odontomes and other dental anomalies, including in radiographs, orthopantomograms or microradiographs, positive identification may be established by comparison of these records with postmortem (PM) records. In the present communication, a rare case of compound composite odontoma in the anterior mandible with multiple denticles has been discussed with a brief overview of congenital and developmental dental anomalies. The authors emphasize the importance of such rare dental anomalies and malformations which may be used for identifying the deceased in mass disasters and forensic identification.

Keywords: dental anomalies; forensic identification; forensic odontology; mass disasters; odontoma.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Forensic Dentistry
  • Humans
  • Mandible
  • Odontoma*
  • Radiography, Panoramic
  • Tooth*