Forensic Odontology: An Aid in Identification of Unknown Human Remains


  • Hemlata Pandey
  • Sumit K. Chaudhary
  • Harish Pathak
  • Emilio Nuzzolese



Forensic Odontology, dental Identification, dental age estimation, forensic facial reconstruction, cheiloscopy, rugoscopy, denture markers


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.

Author Biographies

Hemlata Pandey

Research Scholar,  School of Forensic Science & Risk Management, Rashtriya Raksha
University, India

Sumit K. Chaudhary

Senior Assistant Professor, School of Forensic Science & Risk Management, Rashtriya Raksha
University, India,

Harish Pathak

Professor and Head, Department of Forensic Medicine, Seth GS Medical College and KEM
Hospital, India,

Emilio Nuzzolese

Professor, Department of Public Health Sciences and Pediatrics, Section of Legal Medicine,
University of Turin, Italy



How to Cite

Hemlata Pandey, Sumit K. Chaudhary, Harish Pathak, & Emilio Nuzzolese. (2021). Forensic Odontology: An Aid in Identification of Unknown Human Remains. Medico Legal Update, 21(4), 37-42.

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