Types of Dental Identifications

In most instances, dental identification is initiated when the remains have been significantly altered from the living person or are not viewable. These cases include burned or charred, decomposed, skeletonized and/or traumatized remains (Figures 3-12). In many of these instances, the recovered remains can present combinations of any or all of the above.

Figure 3. Viewable Decedents.
Images showing viewable remains.
Note: The male on the lower right image remains unidentified today.
Figure 4.
Image of a burn victim from an automobile accident.
Figure 5.
Image of an automobile accident burn victim.
Burn victim from automobile accident.
Note how well the teeth are protected even with extensive burn damage. Because of good antemortem records, this was a simple identification even though the victim was not viewable.


Figure 6.
Image of skeletonized remains.
Figure 7.
Image of a skull with well preserved teeth.
Skeletonized remains.
Note how well the teeth are preserved.


Figure 8.
Image of decomposed remains from a drowning victim.
Decomposed remains from a drowning victim with no effect on the teeth.
Figure 9.
Image of co-mingles remains.
Figure 10.
Image showing teeth that were part of co-mingled remains.
Co-mingled remains from midair plane crash – three victims, all of whom were positively identified by their dentition.


Figure 11.
Image showing example dental identification of a burn/trauma victim.
Figure 12.
Image showing victim of burn/trauma identified with dental records.
Combination of burn and trauma – both are victims from the same fire and were simple dental identifications.
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