A PILOT STUDY IN THE RECOVERY AND RECOGNITION OF NON-OSSEOINTEGRATED DENTAL IMPLANTS FOLLOWING CREMATION.
Minimal dimensional changes in free standing dental implants when incinerated in a kiln to a temperature of 1125°C have been reported previously. However, in the same study colour changes were observed between commercially pure titanium and titanium alloy type of implants, with speculation that this change may be a useful distinguishing tool in cases requiring forensic identification. The present study was instigated to determine what changes occur following cremation to bone-supported dental implants placed within mandibles of sheep. A selection of dental implants was photographed and radiographed. They were then surgically placed in sheep mandibles and the entire sheep heads cremated in a commercial cremator. There was detachment of the dental implants from the mandible, which could have implications for scene recovery. Following retrieval and re-irradiating of the implants, image subtraction evaluation of the radiographs was recorded using Adobe® Photoshop.® As with the previous study there was slight oxidation of the implant surfaces leading to minor alteration of the images. There was, however, no gold crust colour change in the commercially pure titanium. Photography within the retrieved implants revealed the batch number within the Straumannä implant was still visible, which could significantly add weight to the identification of deceased persons.