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A Journal on Forensic Medicine




Minerva Medicolegale 2006 June;126(2):225-35

language: Italian

American Board of Forensic Odontology Guidelines for bitemarks analysis: reliability

Venegoni C., De Angelis D., Cattaneo C., Grandi M.

Laboratorio di Antropologia e Odontologia Forense Istituto di Medicina Legale e delle Assicurazioni Università degli Studi di Milano, Milano


Aim. The aim of the study was to verify the reliability of the American Board of Forensic Odontology (ABFO) guidelines for bitemarks analysis on a series of simulated cases on cadavers. From the ABFO Scoring Sheet we observed only the main features that are frequently found on bitten skin: number and position of each tooth, arch size and shape, rotations, spacing between teeth, labiolingual and mesiodistal width of each tooth.
Methods. Eight sets of dental casts were put on an articulator. Five of them, randomly choosen, were used to produce bitemarks on cadavers. Each bitemark was compared, using computer-assisted superimposition, with 5 or 6 casts: among these there was the cast used to produce the bitemark. Each analysis was done first with the application of a qualitative criterion (exclusion/consistency), then the assignation of a score (1 for consistency and 0 for exclusion, for each feature examined) allowed to obtain a percentage of correspondence between bitemark and cast.
Results. The results obtained showed that scores lower than 48.5% always agreed with an exclusion; from 48.5% to 75.8%, maximum percentage reached, consistency was found between the bitemark and the cast.
Conclusion. This study shows that the method is easy to use, fast and useful, particularly for exclusion criteria.

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