Forensic Dentistry II: The Positive Identification

2013 • Volume 7 • Issue 2

Gabriel M. Fonseca; Mario Cantín & Joaquín Lucena



The identification of destructed human bodies must have scientific validity, reliability and applicability in a reasonable time frame. Between the primary methods, the comparative dental analyses are useful to this aim when two types of data are available to compare: the one obtained from previous records of the supposed victim – the antemortem data (AM)-, and the obtained of the remains – the postmortem data (PM). After this match, the forensic odontologist will be able to conclude in a positive identification when the AM and PM data match in sufficient detail to establish that they are from the same individual. This procedure depends not only on the resistance of the dental tissues or their individual characters, but also on the availability, quality and suitable processing of all the available AM and PM data. The critical errors, which can lead to misidentifications or false exclusions, can be a result of the absence of standards, the lack of professional competencies, hiding or fraud. All these circumstances have been reported historically as well as the successes, but scantily informed in the Spanish literature. Since that, still in the best planning, every negative incident supposes a great challenge of resolution and experience. In this paper we present a review on cases and topics inherent to the dental identification, its needs, postulates, limitations and new paradigms to optimize the necessary flexibility and coordination to promote a forensic odontologist not only competent but also moderate and alert, necessary qualities of the expert witness.

KEY WORDS: forensic dentistry, positive identification, misidentification, dental chart.


How to cite this article

FONSECA, G. M.; CANTÍN, M. & LUCENA, J. Forensic dentistry II: The positive identification. Int. J. Odontostomat., 7(2):327-334, 2013.


PDF of the article.