Original Release Date: January 27, 2023
In episode one of our Unidentified Human Remains mini season, Just Science sat down with Dr. Kenneth Aschheim, Assistant Chief Forensic Odontologist for the New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner, to discuss how dental evidence can be used to help identify human remains.
Due to their strength, heat resistance, and lack of decomposition over time, teeth are one of the most resilient substances found in the human body. As a result, forensic odontologists can use the teeth of decedents to match with antemortem dental records in order to help identify unknown human remains. Listen along as Dr. Aschheim discusses the process of forensic odontology, the benefits of using teeth alongside other methods of human identification, and using technology to advance the field.
This episode of Just Science is funded by the National Institute of Justice’s Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (Award #: 15PNIJ-21-GK-02192-MUMU).
Some content in this podcast may be considered sensitive and may evoke emotional responses, or may not be appropriate for younger audiences.
Dr. Kenneth W. Aschheim is a Diplomate of the American Board of Forensic Odontology and serves as the Assistant Chief Forensic Odontologist for the New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner (OCME), where he oversees a team of fourteen forensic odontologists. He also serves as a Forensic Odontologist to the HHS's Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. His specialty interest is the development of national and international standards in the fields of forensics and using computer technology to assist in identifying missing and unidentified individuals. He currently chairs the American Dental Association's (ADA) SCDI Forensic Odontology Informatics and the Organization of Scientific Area Committees for Forensic Science's Forensic Odontology Subcommittee. He previously served as a board member on the American Academy of Forensic Sciences Standards Board and is currently the Vice Chairperson of ADA's Standards Products Committee. In addition, Dr. Aschheim serves as the United States subject matter expert in forensics data to the International Standards Organization, the International Association of Coroners & Medical Examiners, and Interpol's Forensic Odontology Disaster Victim Identification Sub Working group. As an experienced software developer and computer coder, he has been the chief architect and software consultant for developing the OCME's Unified Victim Identification System (UVIS) and CMS Dental Identification Module Software as well as the Odontosearch website. He is currently developing artificial intelligence software using neural network technology to assist in forensic dental age estimation. He is also a co-Principal Investigator for an Artificial Intelligence in Oral and Maxillofacial Oncology project with the World Health Organizations / ITU Dental Focus Group. Finally, Dr. Aschheim is an Adjunct Clinical Professor at the New York University College of Dentistry, an Associate Clinical Professor at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, a full-time dental practitioner in private practice, and has co-authored three textbooks on esthetic dentistry.
The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this podcast episode are those of the presenter(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Justice.
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