Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Postgraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2013 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

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FacultyFaculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences
Organisational UnitVictorian Institute of Forensic Medicine
OfferedSouthbank Second semester 2013 (Off-campus)
Coordinator(s)Dr Richard Bassed


The primary function of Forensic Odontology is to identify unknown deceased individuals who cannot be visually recognized by close family members. Forensic Odontology practitioners require expert knowledge in areas including; post-mortem examination technique, ante-mortem record interpretation and transposition, specialized post-mortem imaging methods, and cranio-facial superimposition techniques.
The aim of this unit is to provide students with a thorough understanding of the standard methods involved in post-mortem dental examination techniques leading to the identification of unknown deceased individuals. The unit is designed to provide practicing dentists with the required knowledge and skills so that they will be able to conduct a standard forensic identification case from the beginning to its completion.


After successfully completing this unit a student will be expected to have acquired the knowledge and skills required to:

  • Demonstrate a thorough knowledge of relevant mortuary protocol and practice - including OH&S issues.
  • Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of dental post-mortem examination techniques, including standard and advanced imaging modalities.
  • Discuss the techniques involved in ante-mortem record collection and interpretation methods specifically related to dental issues.
  • Comprehend the Interpol guidelines and understand the complex issues involved in reconciliation of ante-mortem and post-mortem data using the Interpol standard forms.
  • Demonstrate familiarity with the terminology used when describing and reporting on injuries to the teeth, cranio-facial skeleton, and soft tissues of the face
  • Comprehend and articulate an understanding of the role of other mortuary based identification methods, such as molecular biology, fingerprints, the weight given to circumstantial evidence, and cranio-facial superimposition.


Assignment 20%
Case Studies 30%
Oral Presentation 20%
Case Book 30%

Chief examiner(s)

Off-campus attendance requirements

It is expected that students will need to undertake approximately 12 hours of study per week over the semester. This will include contact time, private study, assessment tasks (case studies, assignments) and involvement in case work. Students are required to attend all workshops offered at the Department of Forensic Medicine during the semester.

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study


FOR4007 - Elements of Forensic Odontology
FOR4001 - Medical Evidence
FOR4002 - Injury Interpretation
FOR4003 - Ethics, Medicine and the Law