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Local dentists help police solve crimes

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Local dentists are helping IMPD solve more crimes. They are among many departments across the country that are turning to old dental records to help identify victims and convict suspects.

The handful of chosen private practices have asked to remain anonymous, however, they are located in Indianapolis.

Dr. Edwin Parks with the University of Dentistry says advancements in technology are also helping Odonatologists identify the unidentified. A CBCT scan is one of them. The new software captures 3-D images by rotating every 20 seconds capturing 600 pictures per session. This tool is also used to help identify bite mark patterns found on sexual assault and homicide victims.

“It helps us sort out who is who. You can’t prosecute a murder without a proper identification,” Dr. Parks said. “We have to think like a detective sometimes. We will get 20-year-old dental records and have to sort out what is and what isn’t.”

“It’s a collaborative effort and takes a lot of teamwork to solve a crime,” said Mike Medler with the Marion County Crime Lab. “I remember one awhile back where a suspect said he didn’t commit the crime. We outsouced a forensic dentist that helped us confirm what we thought all along. That he was there and committed the crime. The suspect ended up saying he was guilty and took a plea.”