Journal of Forensic Dental Sciences
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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 95-100

Estimation of time elapsed since the death from identification of morphological and histological time-related changes in dental pulp: An observational study from porcine teeth

1 Department of Oral Pathology, Sudha Rustagi College of Dental Sciences and Research, Faridabad, Haryana, India
2 Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology and Microbiology, MCODS, Mangalore, Karnataka, India
3 Department of Community Dentistry, Oral Health Sciences Center, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India

Correspondence Address:
Monica Mehendiratta
Department of Oral Pathology, Sudha Rustagi College of Dental Sciences and Research, Kheri More, Village Bhupani, Faridabad, Haryana
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0975-1475.154594

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Aim: Putrefaction of the human body with its rate and stages of the various changes occurring in this entire process have been explored widely by the forensic medicine experts to estimate the time elapsed since death. However, experimental data reported in literature pertaining to rates of putrefaction of the dental pulp retrieved from jaws of the dead is scarce. This study makes an attempt to find out the series of various changes which occur during the process of putrefaction of the dental pulp in a coastal environment like that of Southern India. An attempt has also been made to estimate the time elapsed since the death by assessing the duration for which dental pulp remains microscopically intact. Materials and Methods: Three different study setups at different times, followed one by other were created. In each setup, 10 specimens of porcine jaws with teeth were buried in surface soil and 10 specimens in subsurface soil. Dental pulp was retrieved at an interval of every 24 h to see for the various changes. All the environmental parameters including average daily rainfall precipitation, temperature, soil humidity, soil temperature, and soil pH were recorded. Results: A specific series of morphological changes in terms of changes in size, color, consistency, and odor; and a sequence of histological changes were observed from both surface and subsurface samples. Conclusion: Dental pulp buried in a coastal environment goes through a specific series of morphological and histological changes which can be interpreted up to 144 h from burial, after which pulp ceases to exist.

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