Forensic odontology: an aid in identification of unknown human remains

Hemlata Pandey (Lead / Corresponding author), Sumit K. Choudhary, Harish M. Pathak, Emilio Nuzzolese

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The robust nature of teeth and their ability to resist destruction, make them indispensable evidence in cases where human identification by a scientific method is required. Forensic odontology is the branch of dentistry that combines knowledge of teeth and oral and maxillofacial region of a dentist with the legal system. Dental identification has proven to be a boon in disaster victim identification. Besides teeth, an odontologist can also help identify unknown domains from other features such as the palatal rugae, lip prints, frontal sinus, etc. Forensic Odontology can also assist in the biological profiling of human remains by sex determination, age assessment, racial profiling, and information about habits or pathologies from dental traits. Dental age estimation is a crucial part of the age estimation process in the medico-legal system. Research has shown that dental age estimation by studying mineralization and development of teeth in children and young adults can be fairly accurate and supplement skeletal age assessment. Biological profiling is required to be done for reconstructive identification by forensic facial reconstruction, especially in cold cases. Equipped with the expertise of dental structures, oral and maxillofacial region, overall skull anthropology, forensic odontology can contribute towards the identification of skeletonized, decomposed, or mutilated remains especially in cold cases.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-42
Number of pages6
JournalMedico-Legal Update
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 27 Aug 2021


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