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Forensic dentists assist in crime solving by studying teeth and teeth impressions. Dental records are often used to identify people. Because teeth are one of the hardest substances in the human body, they are frequently well preserved. Dental x-rays or records showing fillings, position of teeth, etc. can help forensic dentists find a match of teeth to the individual. Eighty percent of the time teeth impressions are used to identify unknown victims.

As a forensic dentist you will have the chance to match teeth impressions to discover who took the bite?

ActivityThe procedures for making teeth impressions are:

  1. Divide the styrofoam plate into six equal wedges. Cut the wedges.
  2. Take two of the wedges and stack them together. Cut off 1 inch from the pointed end of the wedges.
  3. Place the two wedges into your mouth as far as possible.
  4. Bite down on the wedges firmly and then remove them.
  5. Label the top and bottom wedges Top Teeth and Bottom Teeth.
  6. Study the teeth impressions. Count the number of teeth in the top and bottom impressions. What other characteristics of the impressions do you notice? Compare the top teeth impressions to the bottom. Are there teeth missing, spaces, chips, etc.?

Materials Lists

Scissors Scissors
Styrofoam plate Styrofoam plate
Marking Pen Marking Pen

Practice being a forensic dentist by leaving the room. One student in the room will take a bite of thick cheese or thick chocolate. See if you can identify the individual who took the bite by comparing the impressions with the bite in the cheese or chocolate.

Updated February 26, 2017
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