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Radiology

Thearticle “Dental identification by comparison of antemortem andpostmortem dental radiographs: Influence of operator qualificationsand cognitive bias” was authored by Vilma Pinchi, Fabio Caputi,Gian-Aristide, Gianfranco Fassina, Cecilia Vincenti, and FrancescoPradella. It was published in Forensic Science International in 2012.The purpose of this article is to determine the influence of thetraining, qualification, and cognitive bias on the level of accuracyof dental forensic identification. The authors were motivated toconduct this study by the fact that there are no standard proceduresthat have been developed to assess the similarities between variouskinds of dental radiology.

TheIssue Being Investigated

Thekey issue that is being investigated in the study published in thearticle is the procedure for the dental forensic identification. Theauthors of the article argue that the comparison between theantemortem and postmortem dental radiographs is the most commonprocedure used by dentists. They hold that the procedure could beused to identify the missing persons since it is effective. Themechanism behind this procedure is based on the fact that the mineralstructure of the human teeth is resistant to degradation during aswell as after death. Therefore, the article indicates how dentalradiograph procedures can be used by dentists in forensicidentification.

Methodand Equipment Used

Experimentationis the research methodology used to conduct the study published inthe article. The experiment was based on a total of 16 simulatedidentifications. This experiment was performed by requesting theoperators to determine the possible match between the 16 AM OPGs anddental radiographs that served as the potential PM images. The testwas performed through the selection of OPGs of the sixteen patientswho were enrolled in the dental practices. The team of operators wascomprised of 78 specialists from different fields, includingemergency care, legal medicine, dentists, graduate dental students,and forensic odontologists. In overall, the operators were expectedto complete the test of forensic identification consisting of 16AM-OPGs and 42 PM-IXRs. Materials and equipment used includeradiographs, scanner, complete teeth, and a grid.

Resultsof the Study

Theresults of the identification test indicated that worse performanceis predicted by the level of difficulty that the operatorsexperienced during the test. In addition, the researchers found outthat the average rates of accurate identification were distributed atthe levels of dentist groups who had a CA score of 85-96 % andnon-dentist groups with a rating of 67 %. The results also showedthat the dentists groups did a more accurate identification than thenon-dentists ones. Similarly, the level of accuracy in tasks thatinvolved the exclusion of the identity was observed among dentistscompared to other groups. The ML had a higher level of specificitycompared to the ER, in spite of the fact that both of them had equalrates of accuracy and sensitivity. These findings were associatedwith the fact that the MI had performed better in excluding theidentity.

Conclusion

Theauthors concluded the article by stating that the possibility ofidentifying individuals through forensic procedures depends on thedegree of the ability of the operators. This conclusion is confirmedby the fact that the most experienced dentists were more accurate inforensic identification compared to other groups. A high level ofacademic training without practical training does not affect thelevel of accuracy. In addition, training as well as the experience indentistry increase the competencies of the operators compared toother professionals.

Reference

Pinchi,V., Norelli, G., Caputi, F., Fassian, G., Pradella, F. &ampVincenti, C. (2012). Dental identification by comparison ofantemortem and postmortem dental radiographs: Influence of operatorqualifications and cognitive bias. ForensicScience International,222, 252-255.