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.
viewable remains
Note: The male on the lower right image remains unidentified today.
Figure 4.
burn victim
Figure 5.
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.
skeletized remains
Figure 7.
skull
Skeletonized remains.
Note how well the teeth are preserved.

 

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

 

Figure 11.
trauma
Figure 12.
trauma
Combination of burn and trauma – both are victims from the same fire and were simple dental identifications.