The judicial view of bitemarks within the United States criminal justice system


  • I. A. Pretty Department of Restorative Dentistry, The University of Manchester, Dental School and Hospital, Manchester, England
  • D. J. Sweet Bureau of Legal Dentistry, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada


When examining most traditional sciences a thorough review of the relevant primary literature is usually sufficient to provide the investigator with a sound insight into the discipline. Forensic science differs in this regard, as it is presented in two main arenas: the peer-reviewed forensic journals and the Courts of Law where testimony is proffered. Because of this duality of scientific assessment the following legal review is presented. The review analysed Appellate Court rulings from the United States and identified trends of objections to bitemark testimony.

Nine major trends were identified within the cases assessed: bitemark evidence not sufficiently reliable or accepted, arguments regarding the uniqueness of the human dentition, constitutional arguments, inflammatory photographs, inaccuracy of techniques and errors in protocol, use of historical bitemarks and previous biting behavior, funds for defence witnesses and objections pertaining to witness credibility.




How to Cite

Pretty, I. A., & Sweet, D. J. (2023). The judicial view of bitemarks within the United States criminal justice system. The Journal of Forensic Odonto-Stomatology - JFOS, 24(1), 1: 11. Retrieved from