Jim Jenkins Presents Forensic Odontology - NE Dental Forensic Team

UNL Forensic Science - Jim Jenkins

April 17, 2013

Dr. Jim Jenkins, Assistant Professor of Dentistry at UNMC Dental School, gave a presentation providing information about Forensic Odontology and the work of the Nebraska Dental Forensic Team.

Jenkins indicated that Forensic Odontologists use their knowledge of teeth to make positive identifications and exclusion of individuals based on their dental records.  X-rays are taken postmortem (after death) and compared with antemortem (before death) images to identify distinguishing features in the set.  Jenkins noted that it only takes 3-4 extraordinary features to make a positive ID.

Teeth are a good way to identify bodies, Jenkins says, because they are the hardest substance in the body and can withstand temperatures one would find in fires.  Since there are 160 surfaces to identify someone from a dental exam, there is a lot of room for comparison.  The Dental Forensic Team can also make identifications from bite marks.