Forensic Dentistry

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Forensic Dentistry

In January 1978, a manhunt was underway for one of the most notorious serial killers in the history of the United States. Ted Bundy was being held in a small jail in Glenwood Springs, Colo., while awaiting trial for the murder of Caryn Campbell. He escaped by sawing through a metal plate in the ceiling, going through the crawlspace above and walking out through the apartment of the jailer, who happened to be out for the night.After traveling through Illinois, Michigan and Georgia, Bundy ended up in Tallahassee, Fla. On Jan. 15, 1978, he went into the Chi Omega sorority house at Florida State University. He bludgeoned four students with a club and strangled them. Lisa Levy and Margaret Bowman were killed. Bundy also sexually assaulted Levy and bit her, leaving clear bite marks.Bundy was recaptured in February 1978 and eventually went on trial for the murders he committed in the Chi Omega house. The bite mark was the only piece of physical evidence that he left at the scene. Investigators took plaster casts of Bundy's teeth, w­hich showed that his teeth were unevenly aligned and that several of them were chipped. A forensic dentist was able to show that these casts matched with photographs of the bite mark from the body of Lisa Levy. This evidence was instrumental in his conviction; if Bundy hadn't bitten Lisa Levy while assaulting her, he may not have been found guilty.

The Story Of Ted Bundy

Forensic Dentistry

Formal Definition

forensic dentistry n.1. The application of dentistry to legal problems, as in using the teeth for identifying the dead.2. The law as it applies to the practice of dentistry. Also called legal dentistry.

Bite marks and other dental features are like fingerprints, and are unique to every individual. A forensic dentist can examine the teeth of a deceased person and compare it to dental records on file to help identify a body. This is most often done when decomposition has made other forms of identification impossible.Even when exact identification of a body is impossible, a forensic dentist can use dental remains to discover a good deal about the deceased. Dental evidence can be used to determine the age, gender and sometimes even the ethnicity of the deceased. Many times this can help the police identify the body simply by eliminating a large number of possibilities.

How it's done.