Analyzing Facial Trauma by Forensic OdontologistIntroductionAny injury on the maxilla or face is considered as facial trauma. There are several causes of facial trauma which include violence, penetrating injuries and automobile accidents. One can identify facial trauma through symptoms such as double vision and other visual problems, swelling eyes and the surrounding parts, missing teeth, bleeding or swelling in the nose resulting to difficulty in breathing, uneven or deformed face bones or face or though sensational feelings on the face (Stewart & Chen, 1997). It is some times considered as maxillofacial injury.
Facial trauma can also be as a result of injuries that occur during accidents (Gallup, 1987). 3 million people are admitted with facial trauma and treated in the emergency wards in US every year. Increased cases of violence and the issue of ultra sport puts more people in the danger of experiencing facial trauma. Young children are at a higher risk of this (Kim & Buchman, 2000). The faces of young children are not fully developed and in case the child experiences facial trauma, his or her growth may be affected.
The Role of Odontologist in Criminal OffencesThere are different types of facial trauma which include; bone injuries, injuries on the soft tissues, injuries on the dental structure and the teeth. Facial trauma can result to irreversible damage on a human’s body reducing the normal performance in the worst cases result to death or disability (Gayford, 1975). As a result, forensic Odontology as a branch has been formed in the medical department to investigate on any criminal offences with the aim of establishing justice (Scherer et al, 1989). These personnel have the required skills in carrying out criminal investigations.
Any evidence to a crime is recovered, collected, documented for analysis in the laboratory. Forensic Odontologists are thus dentists trained to carry out criminal investigation through the acquisition of relevant skills. These personnel may also be involved in assessing injuries or marks to facial or teeth structures for plaintiffs in criminal and civil cases (American Board of Forensic Odontology, 2009). In addition they may assist during archeological expeditions. The purpose of Odontology is to establish equality by investigating on crime (Fisher et al, 1990).
It does not discriminate any person hence ensuring equality for the “normal”, diseased, disabled, old and young (Bowers, 2004). Forensic Odontology encompasses examination of any injury to oral tissue, jaws and teeth and its evaluation, marks examination which aid the identification or elimination of a perpetrator or suspect and the examination of any complete or fragmented dental remains with the aim of identifying the later (Bowers, 2001). Natural teeth of any animal including the human being are the most durable parts in a human body and historians have relied in this to identify the theories of the origin of man (Alshihri, 2009).
After every other body par has been destroyed, the teeth will remain for a long time making them very useful even during the identification of persons who perish in attacks such as terrorist attacks. Domestic violence is a major cause of facial trauma with women reporting more cases of assaults as compared to men. However, this differs in cultural context and the region.