International Journal of Legal Medicine vol:129 issue:6 pages:1277-83
The uniqueness of human dentition is routinely approached as identification evidence in forensic odontology. Specifically in bitemark and human identification cases, positive identifications are obtained under the hypothesis that two individuals do not have the same dental features. The present study compiles methodological information from articles on the uniqueness of human dentition to support investigations into the mentioned hypothesis. In April 2014, three electronic library databases (SciELO®, MEDLINE®/PubMed®, and LILACS®) were systematically searched. In parallel, reference lists of relevant studies were also screened. From the obtained articles (n = 1235), 13 full-text articles were considered eligible. They were examined according to the studied parameters: the sample size, the number of examined teeth, the registration technique for data collection, the methods for data analysis, and the study outcomes. Six combinations of studied data were detected: (1) dental shape, size, angulation, and position (n = 1); (2) dental shape, size, and angulation (n = 4); (3) dental shape and size (n = 5); (4) dental angulation and position (n = 2); (5) dental shape and angulation (n = 1); and (6) dental shape (n = 1). The sample size ranged between 10 and 1099 human dentitions. Ten articles examined the six anterior teeth, while three articles examined more teeth. Four articles exclusively addressed three-dimensional (3D) data registration, while six articles used two-dimensional (2D) imaging. In three articles, both imaging registrations were combined. Most articles (n = 9) explored the data using landmark placement. The other articles (n = 4) comprised digital comparison of superimposed dental contours. Although there were large methodological variations within the investigated articles, the uniqueness of human dentition remains unproved.