Role of Forensic Odontology in the Identification of Victims of Mass Disaster: A Systematic Review
Author(s): Mahesh Shenoy
Background: One of the important parts of management of mass disasters is the reorganization of the remains found after death of human beings. This procedure is usually carried out by forensic experts. It is very tough job because most parts of the body get damaged in massive destruction and it becomes difficult to identify the victim. There have been many methods which rely on the sufficient quantity of remains of the body for proper identification. Nowadays forensic dentistry is also being considered for the identification of the victims in mass disasters. This systematic review was carried out to assess the role of forensic odontology in the mass disasters.
Methods: There was extensive literature search in reliable and authentic databases like Pubmed, Scopus, Web of Sciences, Ovidsp for obtaining papers focussing on forensics sciences, forensic odontology, mass disasters, identification of victims since 1980 till 2021. Data were obtained concerning the following parameters: type of study, nature of study, mass disaster, subtype of mass disaster i.e. natural, criminal or accidental, country where the mass disaster took place, year of incidence of mass disaster, state where the disaster took place, enumeration of total number of victims in the mass disaster, percentage of the victims who got identified, percentage of affected human victims identified with forensic odontology alone, percentage of affected human beings identified on using forensic odontology in association with other forensic methods of identification.
Results: Total numbers of victims assessed in all the studies included in this systematic review were 22345. Among them (86.21%) victims were recognized. The percentages of victims identified by using forensic odontology alone were (15.21%). On the other hand (6.21%) victims were recognized with the help of forensic odontology along with other forensic methods. When there was analysis of other methods for reorganization of the victims in mass disasters then it was found that maximum number of victims were identified by personal visual reorganization (69.21%) followed by fingerprint (7.21%) and DNA (5.4%).
Conclusion: It can be concluded from this systematic review that forensic odontology can be used as an adjuvant in identification of victims of mass disasters. However more research will be required to establish forensic odontology as the golden standard for reorganization of victims in mass disasters.