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NCJ Number: 222352 Find in a Library
Title: Postmortem Dental Radiography
Journal: Journal of Forensic Sciences  Volume:53  Issue:2  Dated:March 2008  Pages:405-407
Author(s): Harry H. Mincer D.D.S., Ph.D.; Jahanzeb Chaudhry B.D.S., M.D.Sc.; Jane A. Blankenship D.D.S.; Edgar W. Turner D.D.S., M.S.
Date Published: March 2008
Page Count: 3
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article identifies and discusses some problems with producing postmortem dental radiographs for the purpose of identifying human remains in a medical-examiner setting, and methods are suggested for avoiding these problems.
Abstract: Many medical-examiner laboratories are not equipped for producing the usual clinical types of dental radiographs needed to produce radiographic images that are comparable to their antemortem (before death) counterparts. A dental X-ray unit is often not available, and the process is relatively difficult on deceased remains, given the presence of rigor mortis and perhaps incineration. Also problematic are duplicating angulation, using paralleling technique, and duplicating the source to object and object to image receptor (film or digital) distances, so that the postmortem and antemortem images may be effectively compared. Because of these difficulties, simpler methods for producing postmortem radiographic images of the teeth and surrounding structure are desirable. Resection of the jaws, when permitted, significantly simplifies the postmortem radiographic technique. When producing an actual postmortem panoramic dental radiograph (orthopantomogram) from a dry skull, stabilization of the specimen for exposure by the moving beam source may be achieved by placing the specimen upside down on an anthropologist's skull ring. Image "burnout" in the anterior segment, which results from absence of the tissues of the neck, may be avoided by appropriate placement of radiodense objects such as "zippered" plastic bags filled with water or other fluid material, freezer gel pack, or a block of self-polymerizing acrylic. Radiographs, both antemortem and postmortem, are often inadequate for interpretation by odontologists. In most cases, however, they can be adequately improved by appropriate enhancement with a computer-imaging program such as Adobe Photoshop. With most digital radiographic systems, the included viewing software provides several features, such as controls for brightness, contrast, edge sharpening, etc., for enhancing the images. 4 figures and 3 references
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Coroners; Crime laboratories; Crime laboratory equipment; Death investigations; Dental analysis; Forensic sciences; Investigative techniques; Victim identification
Note: This article is a compilation of an electronic discussion by Diplomates of the American Board of Forensic Odontology.
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