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Modes of Identification: Dental X-Ray


Teeth and jaw structure are often used after the fact in human identification. The process of obtaining x-rays may be slow, and x-rays taken for clinical purposes may not show a complete and comprehensive view.

The SFE Biometric Identification profile includes a comprehensive forensic x-ray of the teeth and jaw. The image will capture dental work such as fillings or appliances and the critically important root structure of the teeth.

  • Dental x-rays have a number of strengths as a component of biometric identification.
    • Dental x-rays show unique patterns for every individual in terms of bone structure, even in cases where teeth have been lost or extracted, or extensive dental work has been done.
    • In the context of biometric identification, identity can be confirmed by an expert in a matter of hours
    • Dental x-rays are the best method by which to identify skeletal remains
    • This approach may be useful if DNA is not recoverable due to decomposition of human remains
  • This method also has some limitations.
    • X-rays for use in identification must be properly captured
    • This method is less valuable as a mode of identification in countries where dental and healthcare are of low quality