Volume 25, Issue 4 (October 1980)
Photographic Superimposition in Dental Identification. Is a Picture Worth a Thousand Words?
This paper reports a controversial case involving the dental identification of the skeletal remains of an Air Force pilot whose F-105D aircraft crashed in North Vietnam. Only a portion of the maxilla less the teeth was recovered and used in the dental comparison and positive identification. A statement was made to the brother of the victim that the dental comparison removed any doubt as to the identification. This was interpreted by the brother as the following: “Without the maxilla there was no positive ID.” The brother was not familiar with dental terminology and anatomy and was disoriented when trying to interpret the odontologieal narrative. The principles of photographic superimposition were used for general information and orientation to clarify the odontological narrative after the internment of the skeletal remains.