[Role of radiology in forensic dentistry].

Departamento de Química Fundamental do Instituto de Química da Universidade de São Paulo.
Pesquisa Odontológica Brasileira 09/2001; 15(3):263-8.
Source: PubMed


There are various methods for the identification of human remains; most of them are based on comparisons between available ante- and post-mortem data. Although fingerprinting is the most accurate and precise method, in many cases, such as in mutilated, decomposed, burned or fragmented bodies, it cannot be used, and the dental methods become of the utmost importance, since teeth and dental restorations are very resistant to destruction by fire--they keep numerous characteristics, which are quite unique, and offer the possibility of accurate and legally acceptable identification of remains. This brief review describes the progress of forensic dentistry during the last 25 years, regarding the procedures and techniques that use ante-mortem and post-mortem radiographs. Among the discussed progresses one can point out: a specially designed self-supporting film holder that retains intra-oral films in the mouths of deceased persons whose mandibular musculature has been fixed in rigor mortis; positioning devices suitable for reproducing the geometry of ante-mortem radiographic images; methods involving digital radiographs, which can be easily stored in a central archive, retrieved and transmitted, via modem, to mass casualty sites; age estimation procedures; identification of edentulous individuals comparing radiographs of the maxilla; and studies of validation of dental radiographs taken with ante-mortem and post-mortem intervals of up to 30 years.

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    • "The usage of radiological techniques in postmortem applications allows creating of permanent records of autopsy findings for reevaluation, comparison in personal identification and submission to be evidence to courts (Swift & Rutty, 2006). Also, radiological techniques allow forensic personal identification of the ripped, lacerated, carbonized, macerated, putrefied or skeletonized corpses (Gruber & Kameyama, 2001; Carvalho et al., 2009) and in mass disasters (Kahana & Hiss, 1999; Swift & Rutty, 2006). "
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Este artigo de revisão sistemática tem por objetivo citar os métodos de identificação humana por meio da radiologia, utilizados em odontologia legal. Para isso, realizou-se revisão de literatura com 19 trabalhos selecionados dentre 45 encontrados, após aplicação de critérios de inclusão. Há diversas técnicas radiológicas que podem ser utilizadas para auxiliar na identificação humana, tanto individual como geral, incluindo a determinação do gênero, do grupo étnico e, principalmente, da idade. A análise de radiografias e tomografias ante-mortem e post-mortem tornou-se uma ferramenta fundamental nos processos de identificação em odontologia legal, principalmente com o refinamento das técnicas adquiridas com o avanço da própria radio-logia e com a incorporação da informática. Conclui-se que a partir do conhecimento adequado dos métodos disponíveis, o profissional em odontologia legal pode optar pelo método que melhor preencha as características necessárias para o sucesso da identificação, tendo cuidado na aplicação correta da técnica e na interpretação precisa das informações obtidas.
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recently, different portable hand-held and battery-powered dental X-ray units have become available. Especially for forensic odontological purposes, they offer diverse advantages such as for use in disaster areas and crime-scene locations as also in autopsy rooms and mortuaries. For any application, the most important feature of these hand-held devices is the delivered image quality. The aim of this study is to evaluate the radiographic image quality acquired by two portable X-ray devices in combination with two types of image receptors and to compare the findings with the image quality of a standard intra-oral X-ray device. Eleven samples consisting of eight teeth, two dry skeletal specimens and one formalin-fixed mandible part were mounted on blocks for standardised (re)positioning. Radiological images were acquired with two hand-held (AnyRay 60 kVp, 0.02-4.00 mAs and NOMAD 60 kVp, 0.023-2.277 mAs) and one wall-mounted (MinRay 60/70 kVp 0.14-22.4 mAs) X-ray device combined with two image receptor systems (VistaScan phosphor storage plate (PSP) and SIGMA M CMOS Active Pixel technology sensor). The effect of X-ray source-to-object distance (SOD) was checked at 20 cm in conjunction with object to image receptor distances (OIDs) of 0.8 and 2.5 cm. For each parameter setup, the exposure times were run from low till high. An expert consent statement was achieved by agreement of four expert observers selecting the optimal images based on a developed four point quality rating system. Next, a selection of the images was assembled in a set of 198 observation screens and scored by seven observers. The observation screens were designed to compare observer scores, relations between devices, receptors and OIDs and images obtained from the different devices at equal exposure levels (mAs). All results were statistically analysed. Radiological image quality was significantly higher for phosphor plate compared with the CMOS digital receptor system (p<0.0001). Furthermore, a significantly superior image quality was obtained for OID=0.8 than for OID=2.5 (p=0.039). A significant difference in image quality between the three devices was also established (p=0.02). The present study demonstrated the feasibility of portable X-ray systems for forensic odontological applications based on rendering optimal image quality, provided an in vitro guideline of optimal parameter settings and offered a radiological image database usable in further research.
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