Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Forensic Odontologist

What Do Forensic Odontologists Do?

Forensic odontologists are dentists that have high expertise and special training that enables them to identify trace bite marks and unknown remains. More specifically, they perform their job in instances such as the below:
  • To identify human remains, in cases in which other means such as fingerprints can't be used
  • To identify individuals in mass fatalities, like for example natural tragedies or plane crashes
  • To determine the bite marks source in assault cases
  • To testify in dental malpractice cases
  • To estimate skeletal remains age

Do Forensic Odontologists Also Work As Regular Dentists?

A forensic odontologist works usually as a regular dentist and performs the forensic odontology tasks on a need basis. In case (s)he is an "on call" professional, then (s)he must be ready for unforeseen assignments any time a disaster or crime may strike.

In the cases of death for example, a forensic odontologist attends the autopsy, takes measurements, photographs, x-rays, in order to compare them to those of missing individuals. In case of a match, it is thus possible to identify the remains.

In the case of bite marks found on a body, the role of a forensic odontologist is to determine the source of the marks, via analyzing the marks on the victim's body, traces of chewing gum, food, other items and so on.

This is a very demanding job, in terms of expertise, time involved, attention to details, documenting and reporting, accuracy and precision. Due to the specific nature of the working environment, it can be quite emotionally disturbing.

Forensic Odontologist Salary

The annual salary of a forensic odontologist is usually around $150,000 - $185,000. Quite a good pay, but you need to take into account the superior education, high level of expertise and the hard work involved in this job.


Jayne Sanders said...

do forensic odontologist have assistants? for instance would one ever hire a dental assistant to assist?

Unknown said...

Yes, my coworker used to assist for one. She would take xrays and models depending on the conditions of the teeth/jaw. Extremely interesting stories. I believe the doc retired.

Emily said...

I'm so interested in this! Where and how would you even apply for a position like this?

Emily said...

I'm so interested in this! Where and how would you even apply for a position like this?

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