FOR5015 - Post mortem dental identification: Principles and methods - 2017

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Postgraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.


Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Organisational Unit

Forensic Medicine


Dr Lyndall Smythe

Quota applies

This unit is quota restricted. Selection is on a first-in, first enrolled basis. For further information please contact the Postgraduate Course Administrator via email or phone 03 9684 4115.

Unit guides



  • Second semester 2017 (Online)


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.


Upon successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

  1. Confidently follow and apply relevant mortuary protocols and practice - giving specific consideration to OH&S issues and requirements;
  2. Perform dental post-mortem examinations using appropriate techniques, including standard and advanced imaging modalities;
  3. Analyse the techniques involved in ante-mortem record collection and interpretation methods specifically related to dental issues;
  4. Correctly interpret the Interpol DVI guidelines and comprehend the complex issues involved in reconciliation of ante-mortem and post-mortem data using the Interpol standard forms;
  5. Accurately describe and report on injuries to the teeth, cranio-facial skeleton, and soft tissues of the face;
  6. Evaluate 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%)

Workload 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, where possible, involvement in casework. Students are required to attend all workshops offered at the Department of Forensic Medicine during the semester.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

Off-campus attendance requirements

Compulsory 2 day workshop.

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


Students must be registered dental practitioners


Additional information on this unit is available from the faculty at: