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NCJ Number: 221671 Find in a Library
Title: Determination of Season at Death Using Dental Cementum Increment Analysis
Journal: Journal of Forensic Sciences  Volume:52  Issue:6  Dated:November 2007  Pages:1334-1337
Author(s): Vicki L. Wedel Ph.D.
Date Published: November 2007
Page Count: 4
Sponsoring Agency: Forensic Sciences Foundation
Colorado Springs, CO 80904
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This pilot project attempted to determine when transitions between winter (dormant) and summer (growth) bands in dental cementum (anchors teeth into their sockets by means of the periodontal ligament) occurred, so that the season during which death occurred could be determined, thus facilitating estimates of time of death.
Abstract: The study found that tooth cementum increment analysis was 99-percent accurate in determining whether a tooth was extracted between October 12 and April 1, or April 1 and October 12. A tooth from a forensic case could then be sorted into fall/winter or spring/summer seasons. Further, since the cementum increments increase in thickness as each season progresses, estimates of season at death can be refined to four seasons a year; for example, if the winter or arrested band is 75 percent formed, the individual must have died in the second half of the October to April season, i.e., between January and April. Since no particular tooth is required for this technique to be useful, the method can be used in any case in which teeth are recovered. In mammals, dental cementum is laid down in alternating opaque and translucent bands that represent winter and summer seasons. Each pair of bands represents 1 year of life. In the current study, extracted teeth obtained from a local oral surgeon were embedded, sectioned, ground, polished, and examined under transmitted polarized light. The outermost increment was identified and measured, along with other randomly chosen bands. 1 table, 7 figures, and 10 references
Main Term(s): Police policies and procedures
Index Term(s): Death investigations; Dental analysis; Forensic sciences; Investigative techniques; Time of death determination
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