Figure 10-12.Positioning dental fragment on X-ray film for exposure.
planning is required to prevent confusion in the flow
and tracking of the remains as they are processed.
The dental radiology section's job is to get, as
nearly as possible, a full mouth series of periapical
radiographs. On occasion, the forensic dentist may
request occlusal and lateral jaw films. The proper
technique to use is to expose of the films in the proper
anatomical orientation to prevent overlap, shorting, or
elongation of exposed dental films. This is necessary
because the postmortem films will be compared with
the antemortem films that were exposed on a live
patient using appropriate anatomical placement and
angulation. Always expose a full mouth series using
duplicate film packets even if areas appear edentulous
or teeth are missing, fractured, or avulsed. Shoot
different films at several angles and take care to expose
all fragments in their proper anatomical orientation. It
may not always be easy to take X-rays of teeth because
postmortem dental remains may be fractured. The
following supplies may be needed to assist you in
exposing radiographs: hemostats, gauze, clay, and
Any X-ray developer can be used to process
radiographs. The use of a daytime loader is
recommended to speed up the process. When multiple
remains are being processed at the same time, the
following procedures are normally prescribed.
The entire series of postmortem radiographs is
exposed before any has been developed.
The series is placed into a labeled carrying
container for transport to the developing area.
Each series is developed at a single developing
site or machine. Films from one series are never
separated from one another for developing.
In forensic dental operations, it is not important
which method is used for mounting periapical and
bitewing X-rays, as long as the method selected is
uniform. The raised dot on the film can be facing in or
out. All postmortem radiographs should be mounted in
the same manner so there will be no confusion by the
examiners as to which side is which. The policy should
be well publicized so that everyone working in the
dental ID section, not just those in the dental radiology
subsection, are aware of the standard.
area of concern is the ability to determine, at any point