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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2014  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 186-190

Scorching effects of heat on extracted teeth - A forensic view


Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, Kamineni Institute of Dental Sciences, Narketpally, Nalgonda, Andhra Pradesh, India

Correspondence Address:
Madhusudan T Rao
Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, Kamineni Institute of Dental Sciences, Narketpally, Nalgonda, Andhra Pradesh
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0975-1475.137059

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Context: Fire investigation is the multidisciplinary basis of the exploration, which involves investigations concerning the origin of fire, its cause as well as the identification of victims. At times, victim identification in fire disasters becomes nearly impossible owing to complete destruction of soft tissues. In such circumstances, teeth may prove to be of value since they are extremely hard. A precise understanding of physical and histological changes in teeth subjected to high temperature can provide valuable clues in fire and crime investigations, when dental evidence remains. Aim: The main aim and objective of the study was to investigate structural damage in freshly extracted teeth to heating, at different temperatures for a certain length of time in the laboratory. Settings and Design: Fifty-four freshly extracted teeth of different age groups had been subjected to different temperatures for a period of 15 minutes in the laboratory furnace. Physical and microscopic findings were correlated to the temperature. Materials and Methods: Freshly extracted 54 permanent teeth of different age groups were collected and were subjected to temperatures of 100°C, 300°C, and 600°C. Teeth were then examined for any physical changes such as change in color, texture, or morphology that occurred. Then the teeth were subjected for decalcification following which the tissues were kept for routine processing and were embedded in paraffin wax. Sections of 4 μm thickness were made and stained in hematoxylin and eosin (H and E) to correlate the microscopic findings to the temperature. Statistical Analysis: Physical and microscopic findings were correlated to the temperature. Results: Microscopic examination revealed definite histological patterns, which were explicitly seen at a particular temperature. The samples showed cracks and charring of the tooth structure with microscopic findings such as widening of dentinal tubules and altered histological staining. Conclusion: Evaluation of incinerated dental remains may provide additional forensic investigative avenues in victim identification because of the consistency of morphological changes, the histological patterns at temperatures that are commonly encountered in common domestic fires.


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