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Digital Analysis of Experimental Human Bitemarks: Application of Two New Methods

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Bitemark determination in forensic odontology is commonly performed by comparing the morphology of the dentition of the suspect with life-sized photographs of injury on the victim's skin using transparent overlays or computers. The purpose of this study is to investigate the suitability of two new different methods for identification of bitemarks by digital analysis. A sample of 50 volunteers was asked to make experimental bitemarks on the arms of each other. Stone study casts were prepared from upper and lower dental arches of each volunteer. The bitemarks and the study casts were photographed; the photos were entered into the computer and Adobe Photoshop software program was applied to analyze the results. Two methods (2D polyline and Painting) of identification were used. In the 2D polyline method, fixed points were chosen on the tips of the canines and a straight line was drawn between the two fixed points in the arch (intercanine line). Straight lines passing between the incisal edges of the incisors were drawn vertically on the intercanine line; the lines and angles created were calculated. In the painting method, identification was based on canine-to-canine distance, tooth width and the thickness, and rotational value of each tooth. The results showed that both methods were applicable. However, the 2D polyline method was more convenient to use and gave prompt computer-read results, whereas the painting method depended on the visual reading of the operator.
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Keywords: bitemark; digital analysis; forensic odontology; forensic science; identification; incisal edges; intercanine line; study cast

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Oral Diagnosis, College of Dentistry, University of Baghdad, Baghdad, Iraq. 2: Department of Periodontology, College of Dentistry, University of Baghdad, Baghdad, Iraq. 3: Medico-Legal Institute, Baghdad, Iraq. 4: Department of Orthodontic, College of Dentistry, University of Baghdad, Baghdad, Iraq.

Publication date: 2006-11-01

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