Forensic dentistry roles in the past have traditionally been for dentists, but dental hygienists and assistants are increasingly being utilized as valuable dental personnel in the area of forensic dentistry. Therefore, dental hygienists can have an important role in dental forensics by maintaining accurate dental records on a daily basis to assist with identification of human remains when a disaster occurs. In addition, contact the local medical examiner or coroner’s office to find out who the forensic odontologist is and see if they will allow you to assist on any cases. Police departments may need dental professionals to assist with entering dental information into a computer data system. Become involved with the federal DMORT team or the state/regional response teams to help with mass disasters/fatalities.18 All of these avenues are ways to become involved with assisting in identification of human remains or forensic dentistry.
Researching your local dental professionals who assist the coroner/medical examiner’s office and volunteering to assist can be a good way to enter into forensics. Attending forensic seminars and meetings can open doors that may otherwise be closed. Also, being an active member in your local medical reserve corps or state disaster teams can be a great avenue to get involved in forensics. Forensics is NOT for everyone, assisting in an organized disaster deployment or assisting forensic odontologists that work with the medical examiners or coroner office can be a beneficial test to determine if you can handle the rigors of forensic dentistry.
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