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The Response of Skin to Applied Stress: Investigation of Bitemark Distortion in a Cadaver Model

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Knowledge of distortional properties of skin is important in bitemark analysis. Thus, the response of skin to stress from bites was investigated. Four sets of models were created from the dentition of one individual. Anterior teeth were systematically removed to vary contact surface area. A biting apparatus was constructed with an integrated load cell. Forty-six bites were created perpendicular to Langer lines on six cadavers. Rate of force application and bite pressure were controlled. Metric/angular measurement and hollow volume overlays were employed. Distortion produced by each dentition was calculated and assessed. Results showed that as teeth impressed loose tissue, mesial/distal distance increased, angles of rotation flattened, and inter-canine distance lengthened. An opposite effect was seen in tight tissue. When the surface area of the dentition was reduced, a mixture of these effects was observed. Conclusions indicated that stiffness of the tissue was the most important variable in bitemark distortion.
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Keywords: bitemark research; bitemarks; distortion; forensic odontology; forensic science; skin

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Restorative Dentistry, Laboratory for Forensic Odontology Research, School of Dental Medicine, SUNY at Buffalo, B1 Squire Hall, S. Campus, Buffalo, NY 14214.

Publication date: 2010-01-01

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