Volume 48, Issue 2 (March 2003)
Adherence of Forensic Odontologists to the ABFO Guidelines for Victim Evidence Collection
Certifying boards for different professions have the duty to help establish standards and guidelines for methodologies routinely performed within the discipline. For forensic dentists, this responsibility is placed upon the American Board of Forensic Odontology (ABFO). The purpose of this study was to examine whether board certified and noncertified forensic odontologists adhere to the ABFO Guidelines outlined in the collection of victim bitemark evidence. A questionnaire was developed to assess the compliance and attitudes towards the typical evidence collected, the photographic documentation, and the handling of the bite site injury. The results indicate the majority of the respondents in both representative groups routinely follow the guidelines set forth by the ABFO. The lack of personally photographing the bite injury on a consistent basis is an area of concern for all examiners. The photographic evidence is an instrumental part of the investigation and often cannot be utilized due to improper procedures being followed. The film type utilized, bite site impression techniques, and excision of any tissue samples remain an individual choice and vary significantly among each forensic odontologist.