The Complex Story of Teeth: Solving Mysteries With Dental Records and More

Just like your fingerprints, your teeth are unique to you. We may not think about it all that often, but your teeth are very specific to you and within them lies a very secret history of you, your life, and your past. We know, it’s a somewhat morbid topic to discuss during the Christmas season, but we thought we might do something different and look at how teeth have played a role in solving crimes in the past. Whether you have had tooth extractions, a chipped tooth, crowns, or other dental work, this can be used as a way to identify a person when circumstances are, let’s say, less than favorable.

Forensic dentistry refers to the use and handling of examinations and evaluations of dental evidence that might be used in court. The study of dental records and dental information can provide incredible information for the purpose of criminal evidence or body identification.

The Invaluable Tool of Dental Forensics

Many scientists have stated that bitemarks and dental information can be more telling and unique that DNA. There are normally 28 teeth plus four wisdom teeth and each tooth has five surfaces. This means that there are a total possible 160 surfaces and each surface carries with it is own individual history and whether they have had fillings, chips, crowns, extractions, bridges, etc. Going beyond the tooth itself are the bones and the roots also carry individual characteristics unique to each person.

The Famous Bite Marks of Ted Bundy

A bite mark can be evidence in a court of law. This is a well-known tidbit for Ted Bundy enthusiasts, who are fascinated by the infamous American serial killer who killed 30 (or more) victims during the early seventies and eighties. The guy had mastered, in the time before DNA evidence, how to hide details and obscure his crimes. In two of his later homicides, a bite mark on one of his victim’s buttocks would be part of the evidence used to prove his guilt of the murder of Lisa Levy and Martha Bowman. Apparently Bundy himself— by this time an experienced psychopath— discounted the power of dental forensics to identify the bite mark he had made on his victim. It was this piece of evidence that essentially contributed to the death sentence that would eventually kill America’s despised serial killer.

Identifying Victims of America’s Worst Attack

People remember the date of September 11, 2001 with a surge of different emotions. The country was in outrage, in mourning, and in chaos. In addition to the shock and political discourse, of course, was the reality that many people perished in those twin towers in circumstances that made facial recognition impossible. Dental forensics played a big role in identifying many of these victims and bringing closure to some of those families. Americans will never forget that day, nor will they forget how we came together after that time to triumph against the evils that destroyed more than 3,000 lives.

The Dental Records of Hitler Himself

There are countless theories that surround one of history’s most infamous villains. Recent dental forensic information claims to close the case on Hitler’s final death thanks to dental records. As many historians know, Hitler was known to have a multitude of dental problems and, in fact, had a dentist travel with him frequently. As stories have recounted Hitler—who hated anaesthesia—endured several dental procedures including a drilling without any pain medications and never winced.  Rumors of the dictator’s death have circulated since the end of the war that Hitler had escaped and made his way out of Germany. These recent reports claim to put an end to these rumors and finally confirm the death of Hitler via cyanide and bullet to the head.

Take Care of Your Teeth

Teeth say many things, but they also say something about you. So take care of your teeth with proper dental visits, treatments, crowns, and more. Visit Lee Trevino Dental and get your teeth healthy.


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