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Minerva Medicolegale 2007 June;127(2):97-103

Copyright © 2007 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

The role of dental materials in situations involving high temperatures: a review article in forensic odontology

Bush M. A. 1, Miller R. G. 1, Fagin H. A. 2, Bush P. J. 1

1 Laboratory for Forensic Odontology Research School of Dental Medicine, SUNY at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY, USA 2 Unit of General and Oral Pathology Department of Dental Hygiene Austin Community College, Austin, TX, USA


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Victim identification by means of the dentition may be required in situations in which DNA and fingerprints are no longer viable. The nonbiological materials placed in the dentition constitute important additional evidence to support the identification. In situations involving high temperatures the physical characteristics by which dental identification is conducted may be altered. Recognition and retrieval of dental materials in these circumstances may provide a last resort for the forensic odontologist. In this review article, the literature describing the changes observed in teeth and dental materials subjected to high temperatures is examined. There is general agreement that many dental materials survive extreme conditions and that they can be recognized even to the extent of brand of material.

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