Sample Criminal Justice Paper on Forensic Odontology

Forensic Odontology

Forensic dentistry, also known as Odontology, is a branch of dentistry that deals with examining and evaluating dental evidence in criminal justice cases (Rai, and Kaur). Forensic dentistry is done using dental records such as radiographs, ante-moterm, post-moterm photographs, and DNA (Pretty, 48-61). The person conducting forensic dentistry is called a forensic odontologist, he or she is highly experienced, he uses his expertise to identify unknown and trace bite marks to a specific person (Avon & Louise, 453-458). A forensic odontologist can be called upon to perform an examination by the police officer, or a medical examiner.

In cases of death, an autopsy is done, the forensic odontologist must be present to take photographs, x-rays, cranial measurements, and dental impressions from the remains for matching. If they match then the remains can be identified. In cases of bite marks found on the victim’s body, suspected perpetrator, or chewing gum, the forensic odontologist uses the same procedure to establish potential sources of the bite marks, then writes a detailed report to explain his findings and conclusions. He must also prepare to explain the process and justify the findings in a court of law (Hill et al.)

Forensic odontologists are called in to identify human remains that cannot be identified forensic odontologist also identifies bodies in mass fatalities such as plane crashes and natural disasters, they determine the source of bitemarks injuries in cases of assault or suspected abuse (Rai & Kaur). They estimate the age of skeletal remains and testify in cases of dental malpractice. Most forensic odontologists work for the state or the local government entities, at times they may have to travel to the crime scenes and must work outdoors despite the weather conditions. The work environment for forensic odontologists much of the time is gruesome and can be disturbing, it is a job not considered for the faint-hearted because it can be quite emotional and traumatic.

Forensic odontologists normally work as regular dentists most of the time. But in case of a disaster or crime, forensic odontologists should be ready to work for long hours, days, and nights as the work demands extremely fine analytical skills and requires very high precision and accuracy. The forensic odontologist is required to pay attention to every detail and should be h to work patiently to complete a lengthy process one step at a time. He must also have the ability to make conclusions based on the physical evidence available. In addition, a forensic odontologist must follow identification protocols and give information about the findings (Hinchliffe, 269 – 274).

For one to be a forensic odontologist in Kenya, he or she must be licensed by the Kenya Medical and Practitioners Dentist Council. He or she must have trained for a minimum of years and sub-specialized for a minimum of two years in endodontics, forensic odontology, advanced should have good communication skills, he or she should be able to write reports, testify in court, and be able to work along with specialists and law enforcement officials. He should have critical thinking skills, a forensic odontologist may need to use his judgment maximumly to match teeth and other characteristics belonging to a victim or the suspect. Problem-solving skills will help the odontologist use tests and other methods to assist in solving the problem of crime. Good analytical skills are also essential as the forensic dentistry job involves a lot of statistics and natural science knowledge in analyzing evidence.

 

 

Works Cited

Rai, Balwant, and Jasdeep Kaur. “Evidence-Based Forensic Dentistry”. 2013. Springer Berlin Heidelberg, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-28994-1. Accessed 16 Feb 2022.

Pretty, Iain A. “Forensic Dentistry: 2. Bitemarks And Bite Injuries”. Dental Update, vol 35, no. 1, 2008, pp. 48-61. Mark Allen Group, https://doi.org/10.12968/denu.2008.35.1.48. Accessed 16 Feb 2022.

University of Maryland, Baltimore. “What Can Forensic Odontology Be Used For?”. University Of Maryland, Baltimore, 2022, https://www.dental.umaryland.edu/museum/exhibits/online-exhibits/forensic-odontology/what-can-forensic-odontology-be-used-for/.

Rahmat, R. A., H. James, and P. Nambiar. “Attributes of a Competent Forensic Odontologist.” Malaysian Dental Journal 37.1 (2015).

Avon, Sylvie Louise. “Forensic odontology: The roles and responsibilities of the dentist.” Journal-Canadian Dental Association 70.7 (2004): 453-458.

Hinchliffe, J. “Forensic odontology, part 2. Major disasters.” British dental journal 210.6 (2011): 269-274.

Hill, Anthony J. et al. “The Role Of The Forensic Odontologist In Disaster Victim Identification: Lessons For Management”. Forensic Science International, vol 205, no. 1-3, 2011, pp. 44-47. Elsevier BV, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.forsciint.2010.08.013.