The use of human teeth in identification: epidemiological data from an anthropology lab in Brazil


  • Raffaela Arrabaça Francisco Universidade de São Paulo
  • Maria Isabel de Oliveira e Britto Villalobos Universidade de São Paulo
  • Adrielly Garcia Ortiz Universidade de São Paulo
  • Maria Gabriela Haye Biazevic Universidade de São Paulo
  • Marco Aurelio Guimarães Universidade de São Paulo
  • Ricardo Henrique Alves da Silva Universidade de São Paulo



Forensic Odontology is a branch of Dentistry that works with the Law in assisting Justice and the professional involved in this specialty helping the identification of human remains, in various situations - charred corpses, cadavers and unidentified bodies. The aim of this paper was to list and analyze the number and types of teeth present in cadavers submitted to the Forensic Anthropology Lab of the Forensic Medicine Center (Ribeirão Preto), from 2005 to 2010, in order to evaluate and compare the importance of each dental element in human identification. During the research, the Lab received, inserted or submitted with the cadavers, for anthropological analysis, 588 teeth, of which 303 were upper teeth and 285 lower teeth. The upper teeth mostly found were the first and second molars (n=48) and the mostly found lower teeth were canines and first bicuspids (n=44). The most absent upper tooth ante mortem was the third molar (n=25) and, on the lower arch, the first molar (n=33). In contrast, the most absent teeth post mortem on the upper dental arch were central and lateral incisors (n=23 and n=20, respectively) and on the lower arch the same dental elements (central incisors - n=37, lateral incisors - n=28). The techniques for estimating age, ancestry, stature and gender by analysis of dental characteristics varied according to the population. In Brazil, due to the wide population miscegenation, the techniques mentioned may not present the same level of reliability, making it necessary to associate the dental exam to the anthropological analysis, in order to reach the most scientifically reliable results. It was concluded that, due to the importance of the dental elements in the process of human identification, it is necessary the presence of a dental surgeon in the team to collect the remains and perform the identification.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Raffaela Arrabaça Francisco, Universidade de São Paulo



Adrielly Garcia Ortiz, Universidade de São Paulo





How to Cite

FRANCISCO, R.A., VILLALOBOS, M.I. de O. e B., ORTIZ, A.G., BIAZEVIC, M.G.H., GUIMARÃES, M.A. and SILVA, R.H.A. da, 2016. The use of human teeth in identification: epidemiological data from an anthropology lab in Brazil . Bioscience Journal [online], vol. 32, no. 2, pp. 560–565. [Accessed5 March 2024]. DOI 10.14393/BJ-v32n2a2016-30195. Available from:



Health Sciences