Root morphology and anatomical patterns in forensic dental identification: A comparison of computer-aided identification with traditional forensic dental identification

Dirk T. Van Der Meer, Paula C. Brumit, Bruce A. Schrader, Stephen B. Dove, David R. Senn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Scopus citations


An online forensic dental identification exercise was conducted involving 24 antemortem-postmortem (AM-PM) dental radiograph pairs from actual forensic identification cases. Images had been digitally cropped to remove coronal tooth structure and dental restorations. Volunteer forensic odontologists were passively recruited to compare the AM-PM dental radiographs online and conclude identification status using the guidelines for identification from the American Board of Forensic Odontology. The mean accuracy rate for identification was 86.0% (standard deviation 9.2%). The same radiograph pairs were compared using a digital imaging software algorithm, which generated a normalized coefficient of similarity for each pair. Twenty of the radiograph pairs generated a mean accuracy of 85.0%. Four of the pairs could not be used to generate a coefficient of similarity. Receiver operator curve and area under the curve statistical analysis confirmed good discrimination abilities of both methods (online exercise = 0.978; UT-ID index = 0.923) and Spearman's rank correlation coefficient analysis (0.683) indicated good correlation between the results of both methods. Computer-aided dental identification allows for an objective comparison of AM-PM radiographs and can be a useful tool to support a forensic dental identification conclusion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1499-1503
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Forensic Sciences
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2010



  • Dental radiography
  • Forensic identification
  • Forensic odontology
  • Forensic science
  • ImageTool
  • UT-ID Index

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Genetics

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