Forensic dentistry is a fairly new field of science. For a time in the fifties, it was assumed that you could detect a person's bite by the marks his/her teeth left behind, but more recent advances have shown otherwise. Still, personal identification via the teeth has become a reality. Here is how your dentist is able to assist the police in identifying dental evidence in the absence of your family member's physical self.
Judging the Age of the Teeth Recovered
Your dentist (like those at Family First Dentistry LLC) can tell who the teeth in front of him/her belong to by the age of the teeth. Vets have been doing this with horses and dogs for years, so it should come as no surprise that dentists can do the same with human teeth. The older a person is, the more cavity-filled, fractured, worn down and discolored the teeth are. Even if the teeth have undergone at least one cosmetic bleaching the age of the teeth will still be obvious to your dentist. So this is the first step in identifying the teeth.
Matching the Teeth to Dental Records
At this point, the dentist would only know the approximate age of the missing person and would have to match the teeth against dental records. This may involve taking x-rays of the few teeth the dentist has and then running them through a analytical software program that would match them to dental records on file. Only the records of patients who are the correct age are the records the dentist uses to try and run a match. If a match is found, then the dentist knows exactly who the teeth belong to. If no match is found, the next step is DNA evidence.
DNA Evidence in Your Teeth
Teeth are living organisms. They have marrow and a consistent blood supply going in and out of every tooth. As such, there may be some DNA evidence that the dentist can extract from inside these loose teeth. Under very close supervision and a very careful process, the dentist would scrape the bottoms of the teeth where the marrow is visible. Otherwise, he or she would have to saw a tooth in half and extract all of the marrow from the tooth.
Then this sample is sent to the crime labs for DNA extraction and identification. CODEX is the national system that has categorized and labeled thousands of samples of DNA. If your family member ever needed a surgical procedure, served in the military or as a police officer, or spent time in prison, his or her DNA is there. Then his/her teeth would be identified and the search for your family member may continue.Share
13 September 2016
When the bottled water craze began, I jumped on the bandwagon with everyone else who was drinking water from bottles instead of from the tap. I wasn't sure why bottled water was healthier, but I liked the taste. When I went for my next dental check-up, I had my first cavity in a while, so I had it filled and didn't think much of it. Well, I had two more during my next check-up after that, and I began trying to think of why my teeth were suddenly going bad. The only change in my habits was the switch to bottled water, so I made the switch back to tap water and my teeth began to improve. I created this blog to encourage others who have begun getting cavities suddenly to look into their changes in habits. They may find they made a change similar to mine.