Personal identification through digital photo superimposition of dental profile: a pilot study
Keywords:Dental superimposition, Identification, Forensic Medicine, Forensic Odontology
The usefulness of teeth for personal identification lies mainly in their vast individual variability, making them virtually unique for every subject. Odontological identification represents a reliable and important complement to forensic inquiries, in particular in the event of unidentifiable human remains. However, this technique is based on the availability of ante- mortem records containing significant evidence. In the absence of dental records, the only available ante-mortem elements are often photographs. In the present study, dental profile photographs of selected smiling subjects were compared to the relevant plaster study models through digital image analysis. In order to ascertain the reliability of the technique, the comparison was carried out both in a homologous and heterologous manner with the Facecomp software. The results confirm the ability of Facecomp software to identify even the smallest variations in dental elements to reach a positive identification. The method is useful in forensic practice since a forensic inquiry may obtain plaster models from cadavers for comparison with photographs of missing people’s anterior teeth.