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Computerized Dental Comparison: A Critical Review of Dental Coding and Ranking Algorithms Used in Victim Identification

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Comparison of antemortem and postmortem dental records is a leading method of victim identification, especially for incidents involving a large number of decedents. This process may be expedited with computer software that provides a ranked list of best possible matches. This study provides a comparison of the most commonly used conventional coding and sorting algorithms used in the United States (WinID3) with a simplified coding format that utilizes an optimized sorting algorithm. The simplified system consists of seven basic codes and utilizes an optimized algorithm based largely on the percentage of matches. To perform this research, a large reference database of approximately 50,000 antemortem and postmortem records was created. For most disaster scenarios, the proposed simplified codes, paired with the optimized algorithm, performed better than WinID3 which uses more complex codes. The detailed coding system does show better performance with extremely large numbers of records and/or significant body fragmentation.
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Keywords: Plass Data DVI System International; UDIM; WinID3; disaster victim identification; forensic odontology; forensic science; mass fatality incident

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2016

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