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A Technique to Capture, Analyze, and Quantify Anterior Teeth Rotations for Application in Court Cases Involving Tooth Marks

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Anterior teeth within the human dentition have a specific numerical rotation value. Bite marks show an array of angled indentations, abrasions, microlacerations, and contusions. These marks generally represent the incisal surfaces of the suspect's dentition reflecting the rotation values of the teeth in the dental arch. This study described a method for capturing and analyzing anterior dental rotations. The rotations of individual anterior teeth within the study population were categorized as common, uncommon, and very uncommon according to Allen's classification. In the absence of a large number of incisal patterns present in a bite mark, a single but heavily weighted tooth rotation could be of equal discriminatory potential to several common rotation values. No prevalence studies quantifying individual tooth rotations are available. The measurement of each individual tooth rotation together with its individual discrimination potential will enhance the evaluation of the concordant features observed in bite marks.

Keywords: court cases; forensic sciences; metric analysis; odontology; tooth marks; tooth rotations

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Oral Pathology and Oral Biology, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, 0001, Gauteng, South Africa. 2: Department of Pathology and Forensic Odontology, Faculty of Dentistry, University of Oslo, Norway. 3: Department of Statistics, University of Pretoria, South Africa.

Publication date: May 1, 2006


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