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Forensic Dentistry Course Outline

Module 1

Module 1: 

Foundational Skills

Human Dental Comparison

Human Dental Identification

Report Writing

Week 1

  • Introduction to Forensic Dentistry

  • Principles of a Medico-Legal Autopsy

  • Principles of Human Dental Comparison

  • Principles of Human Dental Identification

Week 2

  • Race and Gender Determination

  • Cranial, Mandibular, Dental and Arch Morphology

Week 3

  • Forensic Dental Photography

Week 4

  • Forensic Dental Radiography

Week 5

  • Categories and Terminology in Body Dental Comparison and Identification

  • Overview

  • Report Writing




Module 2:

Mass Disaster Management

Circumstances in Disaster Situations

Oral and Facial Conditions


Week 1

  • Medico-legal Work in Major Disasters

  • Guidelines and Problems in Disasters

  • Burned, Incinerated and Carbonized

  • Extreme Heat on Teeth, Root Canal Filling, Resins, Ceramics

  • Trauma and Heat Related Fractures

  • UV and Dental Restorations, SEM

Week 2

  • Problems in Mass-Disaster Dental Identification

  • Implants

  • The Edentulous

  • Trabecular Bone in Identification

  • Fractal Analysis

Week 3

  • Role of the Dental Disaster Team in Mass Fatality Incidents

  • Maintaining Proper Identification

  • Suicidal Terrorism

  • The Pathology of Terrorism: Biological, Infectious and Chemical Terrorism

  • X-Ray Screening

Week 4

  • Design and Assessment of Mock Mass Disaster

  • Aviation Pathology

  • Mutilation

  • Trauma

Week 5

  • Guidelines for Explosion Fatalities

  • War and Genocide Graves

  • Exhumation

Week 6

  • Emerging Infectious Diseases

  • Adipocere

  • Luminol

  • Radiocarbon and Strontium Dating

  • Thermography

Week 7

  • Rap-Up

  • Emotional and Psychological Impact

  • Lessons Learned in Disaster Situations

  • Forensic Dental Career



Module 3:

Human Dental Age Assessment

Human Dental Age Assessment Report Writing

Week 1

  • Forensic Human Dental Age Assessment:

    • Pre-natal, Child

    • Ageing Techniques:

      • AlQahtani

      • Moorees, Fanning, Hunt

Week 2

  • Forensic Human Dental Age Assessment:

    • Child, Adolescent

    • Ageing Techniques:

      • AlQahtani

      • Demirjian

      • Harris

      • Willems

Week 3

  • Forensic Human Dental Age Assessment:

    • Adult dentition versus legal age

    • Ageing Techniques:

      • Cameriere 2004 and 2007

      • Kvaal 1995

      • Mincer

      • Nortje, etc.

Week 4

  • Forensic Human Dental Age Assessment:

    • Ageing Techniques:

      • Bang, Ramm

      • Johanson

      • Lamendin

Week 5

  • Forensic Human Dental Age Assessment and Dental Body Identification Reports



Module 4:

Pattern Injury Characteristics

Pattern Injury Made by Teeth

Bitemark Report Writing

Bitemark Comparison

Bitemark Comparison Report Writing


Week 1

  • History of Bitemark Evidence

  • Human Abuse Recognition:

    • Medical Examiner, Coroner, Pathologist, Dentist, Nurse, Caretaker, Teacher, Family Member

  • Forms of Abuse:

    • Child, Intimate and non-intimate Partner, Elder Abuse

  • Types of Abuse:

    • Physical, Emotional/Psychological, Sexual, Financial, Medical Assessment, Collection, and Documentation of Evidence for Oral and Peri-Oral Manifestations of Human Abuse

Week 2

  • Animal and Carnivore Bitemarks

Week 3

  • Recognition of Suspected Pattern of Human Dental Origin Terminology

  • Anatomical Location

  • Cutaneous Injuries:

    • Central Contusions, Linear Abrasions and Contusions, Lingual Markings, Tongue Thrusting, Acute Inflammatory Reaction, Tooth Indentation

  • Pattern Injury Characteristics:

    • Abrasion, Bruise, Contusion, Laceration, Petechial Hemorrhage, Avulsion, Incision, Indentation, Drag Marks, Unkown

  • Tissue Characteristics:

    • Fixed Substrate, Mobile Substrate, Substrate Elasticity

  • Substrate Characteristics:

    • Physical Characteristics, Pattern Colour, Surface, Surface Contour

Week 4

  • Nature of Bitemarks and Tissue Specimens

  • Transillumination & Histology

  • Histology and Timing of Injury

  • Bitemark Distortion

  • Static vs Non-Static Bitemarks

  • Patterns, Lesions and Trauma Mimicking Bitemarks

  • Postmortem Bitemarks

Week 5

  • ABFO Standards and Guidelines for Evaluating Bitemarks

  • Class Characteristics of the Human Bitemark

    • ​Pattern Landmark, Pattern Shape, Pattern Metrics, Circumferential Distance, Linear Distance, Cuspidal Eminence, Intercuspal

    • Distance, Intercanine Distance

    • Dental Arch, Arch Size, Maximum Inter-Arch Distance, Dental Midline, Arch Midline, Consistent with the Size and Shape of the Human

    • Dentition, Primary, Mixed, Permanent Dentition

  • Individual Characteristics of the Human Bitemark:

    • Individual Arch and Dental Characteristics

    • Diastema, Incisal Edge, Incisal Edge Shape, Incisal Edge Metrics, Incisal Edge Angulation

  • Orientation of the Bite Mark

  • Less Than Ideal Human Bitemark

  • Evidentiary Value

  • Terms indicating a pattern or patterned injury is or is not a bitemark - ABFO

Week 6

  • Photographic Documentation of Suspected Pattern of Dental Origin

  • Terms and Definitions:

    • Aperture, Bracketing, Camera Sensor, Composition, Depth of Field, File Compression, Flash, Focus, Light Source, Compression, Macro Photography, Magnification, Photographic Scale

  • Equipment and Materials:

    • Camera, Lens, Flash or Light Source, Photographic Scale, Retractors and Mirrors

  • Guidelines for Evidentiary Quality Photographs:

    • Orientation Images, Minimizing Distortion, Non-Metric Close-UP Images, Metric Close-Up Images, Photographing Non-Flat Substrates

  • Types of Photography:

    • Colour, B&W, ALI, UV, IR

  • Metadata, Lens Correction and Other Prerequisites to Pattern Analysis

  • Best Practices

  • Practical Tips in Bitemark Photography

  • Image Processing, Analysis, Security, Storage, Archiving of Images

  • Cybersecurity Protocols and Secure Messaging Techniques

Week 7

  • Photographic Documentation of Suspected Pattern of Dental Origin

  • Other Evidence Collection

  • Pattern Injury DNA Recovery

  • Salivary DNA

  • Microscopy

  • Skin Scanners vs Bitemark Impressions

  • Chain of custody

Week 8

  • Documentation of Suspected Pattern of Dental Origin

  • Case Information, Examination, Pattern Location, Features, Description, Measurements

  • Pattern Analysis

  • Digital Analysis

  • Evidentiary Value:

    • Photographs Need to be Focused, Illuminated, Properly Exposed, Lens Correct, with a Known Plane of Image, and with Image Angular Correction. The Size and Shape of EAch Dental Arch with Its Midline Must Be Identified, as are Individual Teeth

Week 9

  • Pattern Injury Report Content:

    • Pattern Location, Measurements and Orientation

    • Type of Dentition: 

      • Animal, Human:

      • Primary, Mixed, Permanent Dentition

    • Antemortem vs Postmortem Bitemarks

    • Self-inflicted Bitemarks

    • Evidentiary Value

    • Terms Indicating a Pattern Injury is or is not a Bitemark

Week 10

  • Blinding

  • Dental Line-Up: Person(s) of Interest and Individuals as Foils

  • Evidence Collection of the Dentitions:

    • Written Consent, Search Warrant, Subpoena, or Court Order

    • Medical and Dental History

    • Facial, Oral, Other Exam

    • Photography

    • Intraoral Scanner - Virtual 3D Digital Dental Models (Orthopix, etc) vs Dental Casts

  • Methods of Comparison, Overlays

  • Bitemark Comparison Report Writing Content:

    • Preliminary, Interim or Final Report

      • Introduction, Inventory of Evidence Received, Inventory of Evidence Collected, Findings Regarding the Pattern, Analysis, Overlays, Test Bites, Other Results, Conclusions, Disclaimer

      • Linkage Terminology Betweek the Bitemard and the Dentitions

  • Independent Verification in the form of a Second Opinion

Week 11

  • Quantification, Uniqueness, Individualization, Probability, Reliability of Bitemark Evidence

  • Match and Error Rates in Forensic Science

  • Randomness in Forensic Science

  • Resolving Issues in Bitemark Analysis

  • Contextual Information, Observer, Cognitive, Confirmation Bias

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Forensic Odontology

  • Ethics and Ethical Issues in Forensic Odontology

Week 12

  • Science and the Law

  • Case Law

  • Dental Expert Witness

  • Contracting with an Expert Witness.

  • Expert Witness Guidelines & Testimony

  • Courtroom Aids

  • Expert Disagreement

  • Legal Liability of an Expert Witness

  • Rule 702 of the Federal Rules of Evidence

Week 13


  • Peer Review in Forensic Science

  • A Historic Perspective of Bitemark Analysis and Bitemark Comparison

  • Forensic Misdiagnosis

  • Wrongful Convictions and Erroneous Bitemark Opinions

  • Contextual Contamination of Forensic Evidence by Post-Conviction Litigators

  • In Defense of Forensic Pattern Identification



Module 2
Module 3
Module 4
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