Forensics is the application of science as it applies to the law, whether civil or criminal. Forensic dentistry, therefore, is the art and science of dentistry as it applies to the law. “All dentists do some form of forensics without realizing it,” says Dr. Barry Lipton, a board-certified forensic odontologist and a faculty member at LECOM School of Dental Medicine, New York University and Florida Gulf Coast University.
In the late 1940s, the city of London was shaken by a series of unexplained disappearances. You might be surprised to learn that it was an oral appliance that finally brought the reign of terror to an end. John George Haigh, also known as the “Acid Bath Murderer,” had made every effort to eliminate evidence of his crimes. However, he missed the fact that his final victim had left behind a partial denture. Its discovery in his possession was instrumental in helping investigators identify the victim, leading to Haigh’s eventual arrest and conviction in 1949.