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Identification of the Edentulous Individual: An Investigation into the Accuracy of Radiographic Identifications

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The dental identification of edentulous individuals can be challenging based on the lack of antemortem materials and unique features visible on radiographs. The constant resorption of the alveolar ridges further complicates the process. The purpose of this study was to quantify the error rate and reliability of dental identifications based on a comparison of synthesized antemortem and postmortem radiographs of edentulous individuals. Ten observers examined ten cases on two occasions and reported dichotomous and conclusion level decisions. These were analyzed using Kappa and Receiver Operator Characteristics. The mean area under the curve was 0.75 and the mean sensitivity was 0.57 and specificity was 0.83. These results suggest that dental identifications of edentulous individuals using radiographs alone have a high error rate and should be dual reported. These data add further weight to the argument that all dental prostheses should be labeled.

Keywords: denture marking; forensic science; identification; postmortem; radiography

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Graduate Student in Forensic Dentistry, The School of Dentistry, The University of Manchester, Manchester, U.K. 2: Senior Lecturer in Restorative Dentistry, The School of Dentistry, The University of Manchester, Manchester, U.K.

Publication date: 2010-07-01

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