in time, if a film is missing from the film mount. This might occur because of its falling out of the mount or because an examiner has purposefully removed it for some reason. When dental evidence is incomplete and a complete series of postmortem radiographs has not been taken, there are two methods by which the examiners know for sure what films are available for their use. The first, and best method, is to fill all holes in the mount with undeveloped, unexposed film once all films from a set of remains are developed. An examiner who picks up a mount will immediately notice the green, opaque films in the mount and realize that no radiograph is available for this particular area. If an empty space is present in any of the mounting slots, the examiner immediately knows that a film was taken out of this site. The second method is to maintain a written inventory list of postmortem films exposed on each set of remains.
- A routine mounting procedure is quite useful and involves taking the following actions:
Have one viewbox per developer and co-locate them so that loss of films in transport from developer to viewbox is not possible.
Use viewboxes that can be laid flat to prevent dropping of films.
Orient all dots in the correct position.
Orient the entire series as it will appear in the mount before actually mounting any films.
Remember whatever is in the center of the film determines its position in the mount.
Have all series reviewed by a dental officer or a dentist at the postmortem examination station for correctness in mounting.
The postmortem examination team you may be on is responsible for examining and charting the dental remains to include the presence or absence of teeth, restorations, pathology, and any other feature that might be useful in the ID process. Figure 10-13 shows a forensic dental examination of a casualty.
The process starts with gentle cleaning of the dental remains with a tooth brush using sodium hypochlorite (bleach) and hydrogen peroxide. Remember that incinerated (burnt) teeth are brittle and will shatter if not handled carefully. Next, a team process including either a team of three dentists or a team of two dentists and a dental hygienist or a Dental Technician, chart all dental evidence on a postmortem dental record form. Figure 10-14 is an example of a completed postmortem dental record form.
Figure 10-13. - Forensic dental examination.Continue Reading