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Forensic Dental Evidence - 2nd Edition - ISBN: 9780123820006, 9780123820013

Forensic Dental Evidence

2nd Edition

An Investigator's Handbook

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Editor: C. Michael Bowers
Hardcover ISBN: 9780123820006
eBook ISBN: 9780123820013
eBook ISBN: 9780123851635
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 27th August 2010
Page Count: 368
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Forensic Dental Evidence: An Investigators Handbook highlights the discussion regarding unjust convictions caused by inaccurate bitemark opinions. The book focuses on cases that use forensic techniques, emphasizing modern methods and protocols. Through this book, the latest information available is offered to the forensic community.

This book demonstrates expertise in forensic dentistry by presenting chapters on human identification in domestic and international situations; investigations on missing person and violent crimes against persons; mass-disaster planning and disaster response; and new threats from terrorist attacks on urban centers. Furthermore, it discusses topics regarding bitemark evidence, such as forensic photography, analysis and legal issues. The book also presents two chapters on new scientific topics: The Next Level in Victim Identification: Materials Properties as an Aid in Victim Identification; and DNA for First Responders: Recognizing, Collecting, and Analyzing Biological Evidence Related to Dentistry (chapters 3 and 8, respectively).

This book is suited to anyone seeking knowledge on forensic dentistry; it will be of great value to investigators, lawyers, medical examiners, nurses, and dentists with an interest in forensic dental cases.

Key Features

  • Contributions by internationally recognized and experienced forensic experts cover missing persons cases and mass disaster cases from around the world
  • Contains over 200 full-color photographs of crime scene evidence, human identification cases and bitemark details
  • Includes many new exoneration cases derived from the Editor's work with the Innocence Project


Forensic professionals (odontologists, medical examiners, researchers and practitioners), law enforcement professionals (police, investigators, police academies / training), dentists preparing to be an expert witness, legal professionals and forensic science post-graduate students

Table of Contents


Photo Credits


Preface to Second Edition

Preface to First Edition



1. Historical Dental Investigations


The Forensic Examination of Herakleides

The Aging of Herakleides

The Odontological Identification of Adolf Hitler, Using Cinematographic Documents


A Short Biography of Adolf Hitler

Hitler's Death

Remains and X-Rays

High and Moderate Degrees of Concordance


Dental Forensic Identifications: The Beginnings to the Nineteenth Century

Hesi-Ré: The First Dentist

Lollia Paulina: The First Record of Forensic Dental Identification

Dr. Joseph Warren: The First Forensic Dental Identification in the United States

Edinburgh 1814: The First Use of Dental Evidence in a Court Case

Tooth Eruption Patterns as an Age Determinant

Parkman/Webster Murder Trial, Boston 1850: The First Court Case Largely Built on Dental Evidence

John Wilkes Booth: Identification of the Infamous Assassin

The “Bazar de la Charité” Disaster Results in the World’s First Forensic Odontology Text

2. Dental Detectives

Who Is a Qualified Forensic Dentist? Advice: Use the Best

What Dentists Do

What to Do When “a Skull with Some Teeth” Has Been Discovered

The Use of Teeth by Forensic Science

Factors that Change the Appearance of Teeth Over a Lifetime

The Language of Dental Identification

Tooth Names and Quantity of Teeth in Adults and Children

Human Tooth Morphology

The Dental Investigator's Role in Forensic Case Work

Collecting and Preserving Useful Evidence

Scientific Dental Investigations

The Most Famous Bitemark Case of the 20th Century

Woman’s Identity Confirmed by a Missing Tooth

3. The Next Level in Victim Identification: Materials Properties as an Aid in Victim Identification


Modern Challenges, Radiography, and Fluorescence



Incinerated Remains

Collection and Analysis

4. Forensic Dentistry Investigation Protocols

Dental Uniqueness

Dental Autopsy

Terminology for Body Identification (from the ABFO Guidelines,

5. Recognition, Documentation, Evidence Collection, and Interpretation of Bitemark Evidence

The History of Bitemarks in the New World

Sequence of Events in a Bitemark Investigation


Preliminary Bitemark Examination

Skin Distortions Affecting Biter Identification

Features Indicative of Bite Marks in Skin

Locations of Bitemarks on Humans

Variable Appearance of Bitemarks

Evidence Collection for Bitemarks


Impressions of a Bitemark

What the Dentist Does Next

Objects Bitten: How Certain Is the Dentist About the Biter?

What the Dentist Looks for in the Suspect's Mouth

Evidence Collection Protocols

Recovery of Bitemark Evidence from the Victim

Photographs of Potential Bitemark Evidence

Recording the Topography of a Bitemark

Documentation of Bite Mark Evidence

Live Victim Testimony

Recovery of Bitemark Evidence from a Live Person

Laboratory Analysis of Bitemark Evidence

Evidence Collection from a Suspect

Dental and dna Evidence Collection from a Suspect

Comparison of Injury and Suspect Dental Exemplars


6. Bitemarks in England and Wales


The Process: Identifying a Bitemark and Collecting Evidence

The Process: Evidence Collection from the Bite Suspect(s)

The Process: Comparison

The Process: Report and Trial


7. Legal Issues Concerning Bitemark Evidence in the United States

Legal Factors of Evidence Collection and Its Use in Court

The Fourth Amendment: Arrest Search and Seizure

Admissibility of Expert Evidence Based on Relevance and Scientific Reliability

National Academy of Sciences (NAS) 2009 Review of Bitemark Evidence

Report Concerns About Certain Forensic Disciplines

Report Concerns About Bitemark Analysis

Types of Dental Testimony by Dentists

Use of Bitemark Evidence in Jurisdictions Using the Frye Standard for Admissibility

Use of Bitemark Testimony Under the Federal Rules of Evidence

Typical Questions Law Enforcement Asks Regarding Dental Evidence

The Scientific Limitations of Bitemark Testimony

Bitemark Guidelines

Scientific Literature on Bitemark Identification

The Accuracy of Skin as a Substrate for Bitemarks

Uniqueness of the Human Dentition

Future Improvements to Bitemark Identification

Wrongful Convictions and Erroneous Bitemark Opinions

The Innocence Project/Network

Erroneous Bitemark Opinions that Were Overturned by DNA

8. DNA for First Responders: Recognizing, Collecting, and Analyzing Biological Evidence Related to Dentistry

Why DNA?

DNA Applications in Forensic Dentistry

Sample Collection Techniques

Behind the Laboratory Door

Interpreting DNA Evidence

9. Missing and Unidentified Persons: The National Crime Information Center Dental Enhancements

The Function of the Dental Enhancements

History and Development of the Dental Functions in NCIC

Collection of Dental Information

The NCIC Missing and Unidentified Persons File Data Collection Entry Guides

The National Dental Image/Information Repository

Comparison Logic

The NCIC Dental Crossmatch Report ($.M)

NCIC Offline Search

NCIC Records Entered Prior to April 4, 2004

Juvenile Runaway Issues

Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) Conversion Issue

Wanted Persons Issues

Other Missing and Unidentified Persons Resources


10. The Disaster Victim Identification System: Its General Structure and the Swiss Involvement


Interpol and DVI

The Disaster Victim Identification Guide

The Swiss DVI Organization


The Swiss DVI Team in Thailand after the Tsunami

The Back-Office in Berne, Switzerland


11. Recognizing, Documenting, and Analyzing Physical Evidence in Abuse Cases

Child Maltreatment

Abuse During Pregnancy

Physical Injuries During Dating Relationship

Spouse Abuse (Intimate Partner Violence)

Elder Abuse and Neglect

Techniques for Recording Evidence of Traumatic Injuries


12. Managing a Mass Fatality Incident


Dental Response

Temporary Morgues

Processing Human Remains

Identification Methods

Challenges in Mass Disaster Management

Family Assistance Center

Mental Health Counseling

Aftermath of a Commercial Airline Accident

MFI Recommendations for Medical Examiners’ Needs

International DVI Teams Cooperating During an Event

13. Identifying Victims of 9/11 At the Office of Chief Medical Examine City of New York

14. Australasian and Multinational Disaster Victim Identification


Local Incidents

Regional Assistance

Multinational Disasters

Simplifying Deployments


15. Photography and Forensic Dental Evidence

Photographic Duties

Standard Photographic Protocols


16. The Use of Digital Imaging in Human Identification and Crime Scene Analysis

Measuring the Physical Characteristics of Two- and Three-Dimensional Evidence


Digital Comparison of Bitemark Evidence

Dental Identification: The Uses of Digital Imaging



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© Academic Press 2010
27th August 2010
Academic Press
Hardcover ISBN:
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About the Editor

C. Michael Bowers

C. Michael Bowers

C. Michael Bowers is an Associate Clinical Professor at the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA. He is also the Deputy Medical Examiner in Ventura, California. Dr. Bowers is a practicing forensic dentist and consultant who has testified and worked on hundreds of cases where dental evidence has been involved. He is a former Diplomate of the American Board of Forensic Odontology, a Senior Crime Scene Analyst for the International Association for Identification (IAI) and has written other articles, chapters and books on forensic dentistry. He owns and operates his own dental practice in Ventura, CA.

Affiliations and Expertise

Associate Clinical Professor, Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA; Deputy Medical Examiner, Ventura, CA, USA


"This book, really more impressively a treatise, leaves no (dental) stone unturned in explicating the history, the savoir faire, the investigative potential, the litigation and the research firmly establishing the foundations of dental identifications in the firmament of the forensic sciences." --James E Starrs, Professor Emeritus of Law & Forensic Sciences, The George Washington University

"Forensic Dental Evidence: An Investigator's Handbook is a must-read for all participants in the criminal justice system--judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, investigators and police, to name a few--as well as all forensic odontologists. C. Michael Bowers, one of the world's most renowned forensic dental experts, draws upon a wealth of his expertise and that of others to put forth in a highly accessible book information and guidance that will surely prevent misidentifications and wrongful convictions." --Maurice Possley, Northern California Innocence Project at Santa Clara University Law School, Santa Clara, CA; Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist

"...this book comprehensively covers concepts and protocols necessary for criminal investigation involving dental evidence and will be of educational value and interest to many categories of reader. It is practical, up to date, informative, well-illustrated and appropriately cautionary." --Judith A Hinchliffe, Independent Forensic Odontologist, New Zealand in Journal of Forensic Odonto-Stomatology, 2011

Ratings and Reviews