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.
ELIMINATION OF ERRORS. 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.
DENTAL POSTMORTEM EXAMINATION
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.