Morphological Changes in Teeth Exposed to High Temperatures with Forensic Purposes

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Leticia Rubio; José Manuel Sioli; Ignacio Santos; Gabriel M. Fonseca & Stella Martin-de-las-Heras


Teeth are the most resistant elements of the human skeleton and are thus often used in routine forensic research laboratories. The objective of this study was to describe structural, morphological and color changes that occur post heating the teeth to aid in proper handling of samples in a forensic scenario based on their condition. Seventy teeth were exposed to different temperature intervals, ranging from 100 °C to 1 200 °C for 60 min using a laboratory oven. Ten unheated teeth were used as controls for the study. After incineration, the teeth were photographed and radiographed to visually assess morphological changes. The measure of color change was performed with a spectrophotometer. The results showed structural and color changes as well as radiographic abnormalities, which were associated to the temperature interval at which the teeth were cremated. In conclusion, it is possible to inform about incineration tooth temperature based on photographic, radiographic and color changes.

KEY WORDS: Burnt tooth; Color changes; X-ray; Morphology; Spectrophotometry.

How to cite this article

RUBIO, L.; SIOLI, J. M.; SANTOS, I.; FONSECA, G. M. & MARTIN-DE-LAS-HERAS, S. Morphological changes in teeth exposed to high temperatures with forensic purposes. Int. J. Morphol., 34(2):719-728, 2016.