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LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Year : 2012  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 126

Significance and application of digital photography in forensic dentistry


1 Department of Prosthodontics and Oral Implantology, Shree Bankey Bihari Dental College and Research Centre, Ghaziabad, India
2 Private Practitioner, Pitampura, New Delhi, India
3 Department of Conservative Dentistry and Endodontics, IDST Dental College, Modinagar, Ghaziabad, India
4 Department of Oral Pathology, Swami Devi Dyal Hospital and Dental College, Panchkula, Haryana, India

Date of Web Publication27-Nov-2012

Correspondence Address:
Prince Kumar
Department of Prosthodontics and Oral Implantology, Shree Bankey Bihari Dental College and Research Centre, Ghaziabad
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/2155-8213.103937

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How to cite this article:
Kumar P, Khattar A, Goel R, Singh HP. Significance and application of digital photography in forensic dentistry. Dent Hypotheses 2012;3:126

How to cite this URL:
Kumar P, Khattar A, Goel R, Singh HP. Significance and application of digital photography in forensic dentistry. Dent Hypotheses [serial online] 2012 [cited 2019 Oct 15];3:126. Available from: http://www.dentalhypotheses.com/text.asp?2012/3/3/126/103937

Sir,

Forensic photography is the art of producing a defined reproduction of a crime scene or an accident scene for the benefit of a court or to aid in the investigation. It is part of the process of evidence collecting. It provides investigators with photos of bodies, places and items involved in the crime. In many cases, people other than the forensic dentist will originate the crime scene photography. Photography is vital since the original evidence in homicide cases is eventually lost due to postmortem changes, burial and cremation. [1],[2] In live patients, injuries heal and will fade from sight. Recent advances like alternate light photography, ultraviolet and infrared photography and digital imaging technologies, greatly improve many aspects of forensic photography. Thus, even minute details are not missed. The photographic evidence is then presented in the court to sum up the case and aid in justice. [3]

Identifying unknown human remains by dental science is second in effectiveness only to fingerprints. The validity and reliability are based on the numerous combinations and permutations in the patterns of decayed, missing and filled teeth. Almost invariably, dental identifications become essential when visual means and fingerprints are obliterated by decomposition, burning and skeletization. Even the intact body may require dental confirmation of identity, if foul play or litigations are considerations, or if finger print records are not available. [4]

Dental photography mainly shows dental remains and features bite marks. Police photographers are not trained enough to do forensic dental photography. Moreover, bite mark analysis requires specific dimensional control of the objects being photographed because the dentist takes life-sized models of a suspect's teeth and superimposes them onto the crime scene evidence. Therefore, a forensic dentist should standardize his technique to allow reproducibility rather than concentrate on artistic beauty. [5] After intense fire, carbonization of the anterior teeth renders them so fragile that they may crumble at the slightest touch. Any attempt to remove the jaws may leave the dentition in ashes. An initial photograph maintains this data even if damage occurs later. [5] In rare court cases, in which the victim's identity is in question, the forensic dentist may be subpoenaed and challenged to demonstrate the technique, upon which he based his conclusions. A photographic series could serve to corroborate and strengthen the written record. This letter is an endeavor to attract the attention of researchers to this upcoming field and I hope it will prove to be a gentle nudge for the same.

 
  References Top

1.Bernstein ML. The application of photography in forensic dentistry. Dent Clin North Am 1983;27:151-70.  Back to cited text no. 1
[PUBMED]    
2.Bowers MC. Forensic dental Evidence-An Investigator′s Handbook. 2 nd ed. Burlington, MA, USA: Elsevier Ltd; 2011. p. 287-95.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.Macini K. Forensic Photography 2010. Available from: http://www.westchestergov.com/labsresearch/ForensicandTox/forensic/photo/forphotoframeset.html [Last cited on 2010 May 27].  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.Bernstein ML. The application of photography in forensic dentistry. Dent Clin North Am 1983;27:151-70.  Back to cited text no. 4
[PUBMED]    
5.Cottone JA, Standish SM. In: Cottone JA, editor, Outline of forensic dentistry Year Book Medical Publisher. Ann Arbor, MI, US: University of Michigan; 1982. p. 54-61.  Back to cited text no. 5
    




 

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