Core Principles: Forensic Odontology

Primary Course Instructors: Joe Adserias-Garriga, DDS, Ph.D.

Dental analysis and its interpretation play a key role in the process of forensic identification. Dental methods are highly reliable to estimate the age of the individual, especially in cases of sub-adults. The scientific advances and the improved imaging technologies enabled the development of a number of age estimation methods for sub-adult and adults individuals. Since teeth are one of the most preserved skeletal material in fire exposure, they are extremely valuable for identification purposes. Nevertheless, the changes in teeth and surrounding skeletal structures by the fire should be understood for a proper interpretation.

The didactic portion of the course will cover dental anatomy and maxillofacial anatomy and physiology, dental age estimation in sub-adult and adult individuals, the process of dental identification, the use of dental identification softwares, the role of the odontologists in a mass disaster scenario, dental and maxillofacial trauma and the analysis of burnt remains, and bite mark examination.

The hands-­on sessions will cover the identification of the maxillofacial dental and structures in complete and fragmentary remains, radiographical interpretation, dental age estimation and the process of human identification by dental means.

Course Location: Mercyhurst University, Erie, PA


Course Participants: Individuals over 18yrs of age. Limed to 20 participants.

  1. College and University students (undergraduate and graduate);

  2. College professors and instructors (teaching classes in Forensic Anthropology, Biological Anthropology, Forensic Science, Criminalistics, Medicolegal Death Investigation, and Criminal Law); and

  3. Professionals in law enforcement, criminal investigation, medicolegal death investigation, and the legal profession (prosecutors, defense attorneys).

May 27-29, 2022


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