Forensic Identification: Then & Now

Baker, Holly, Lisa Banaszewski, Christina Byrne, and Danielle Houser


To compare and contrast forensic identification technologies then and now.


Forensic identification has been used since the time of Paul Revere when identification was done based on dentures and bridge work. There have been many advances in the recent years in the field of forensic odontology. The most used advancement is the digital radiograph system. Using digital x-rays has saved time, paper, and money for forensic odontologists. The digital x-ray machine is called the Nomad. There are also several programs that are used for identification purposes such as Dexis and WinID. These programs make it easier for forensic odontologists to sort through ante mortem and postmortem records. Instead of looking though piles of paper the computer systems find the matches automatically. These advancements have helped identify many victims in mass disasters such as Hurricane Katrina. Since the Nomad system is handheld and portable, images can be sent and viewed quickly, providing a possible quick identification.


In conclusion, there have been many changes to forensic identification. There are many strengths and weaknesses to both the new and old technologies. The decision on which technologies are better is up to the operator and their user preferences.