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Maximizing postmortem oral-facial data to assist identification following severe incineration

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This paper reviews the literature for methods of maximizing the postmortem oral-facial information available for a comparison to be made for identification following an incident resulting in incineration.


A search was initially instigated utilizing PubMed, Scopus, and Google Scholar, with further library searches and correspondences among peers around the world leading to a comprehensive review of the literature.


Maximizing postmortem dental evidence in a severe incineration event requires correct recognition and recording of dental data. Odontologists should attend the scene to facilitate this recognition. The information should be documented, photographed, and stabilized before retrieval. Wrapping, padding, and further support of the remains during transportation to the examination mortuary will aid this process. Examination at the mortuary requires further photography, complete charting, and radiographic examination of any dental material available, as well as awareness of other possible medical evidence, to enable identification of the human remains.

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Many thanks to Helen James, Neil Langlois, and Pamela Mayne Correia for their assistance with this paper.

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Correspondence to John W. Berketa.

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Berketa, J.W. Maximizing postmortem oral-facial data to assist identification following severe incineration. Forensic Sci Med Pathol 10, 208–216 (2014).

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  • Identification
  • Incineration
  • Postmortem data
  • Forensic odontology