Usually the mandible delivers more force than the maxilla, and therefore the stronger impression is of the lower teeth on the skin. The timing in recording these evidences is small, as bite marks alter with time on the skin depending upon the individual. It is in addressing this problem that the ABFO recommends frequent photographs of the bites at periodic intervals. (Forensic Odontology, 2006)
The identification of individuals was seriously appreciated when the results of a study conducted on five identical twins took place in 1982. The study demonstrated that even identical twins have difference in their dental morphologies. (Bowers, 2000)
It is in the same context that we have come to identify the individuality of the dental bite marks. It is a general consensus that bite marks are quite individual for every human, and chances of same bite marks be found from another human are rare. (Bowers, 2000)
Pretty and Sweet (2001) very sweetly describe forensic dentistry as "the overlap between the dental and the legal profession." A complete statement in itself. Forensic dentistry has proved itself as an integral part of the forensic health studies, where it has been accurate in identifying different cases where other evidences were scarce. (Pretty & Sweet, 2001) Another name that has been given to it is "bite mark evidence expertise". The process is simple. It involves "identifying the assailant by comparing a record of their dentition (set of teeth) with a record of a bite mark left on a victim."(Forensic Odontology, 2006)
Most of the dental identification procedures follow the guidelines set by the American Board of Forensic Odontology, 1984. It has in detail explained the various procedures to be carried out under different cases and circumstances. These guidelines have been extremely helpful in providing oriented framework for postmortem dental procedures. (ABFO Guidelines, 1984)
So what do we do and how do we help the law Simple. Forensic dentistry works by identifying the individual and assessment of the dental bites. It becomes a very helpful tool in situations where the victim died due to a natural calamity, or when the victim's body was too damaged to provide a single shred of identity. One of the most important events where dental records and forensic dentistry played its part was in the identification of victims of the 09/11 attack.
If the role of forensic dentistry was to be outlined it would be as follows. (What is Forensic Dentistry)
"Forensic dentistry helps in the identification of living and dead individuals.
It helps in the bite mark analysis, identification and comparison
Lip print and rugae print analysis, identification and comparison
Patterned injury identification, analysis and comparison
Identifying dental specimens at the crime scene or elsewhere
Evaluation of orofacial trauma
Malpractice and negligence claims"(Forensic Dentistry)
Many procedures are undertaken to identify the body. The most common approach is the comparative identification approach. This approach relies on comparing the postmortem records with antemortem records of the individual. These records can be various office notes,study casts or radiographs, or photographs of the individual. Naturally, the complication arises when the individual did not have any significant dental treatment done. In other