Understanding the debate: Forensic odontology and bite mark analysis explored in CDA Journal

July 5, 2023

Ongoing concerns about the use of bite mark analysis as evidence in criminal trials has sparked controversy in both the judicial system and scientific community. “Forensic Odontology and Bite Mark Analysis: Understanding the Debate” is the latest article collection of the Journal of the California Dental Association, which sheds light on that debate with research and reviews by dentists and experts in the field of forensic odontology.

“As a forensic dentist, I am pleased to help bring to light a debate that has been taking place within the field of forensic odontology for many years,” said Anthony R. Cardoza, DDS, D-ABFO, guest editor of the collection. “My hope is that these articles will give readers a better understanding of bite mark analysis and the challenges it has faced and will continue to face in the future.”

Contemporary bite mark investigations began with a Los Angeles homicide case in 1975, followed in 1978 with the high-profile murder case of Ted Bundy. Though reliability and validity of bite mark analysis was not established, the use of bite mark testimony skyrocketed and continued to be accepted by the courts over the following decades, Dr. Cardoza said. Later, ongoing concerns regarding bite mark validity and the increased reliance on DNA evidence further clouded the issue. To date, there have been 38 convictions and indictments where bite mark analysis was determined to be wrong.

"This collection of articles offers valuable information not just for the dental profession but legal and criminal experts as well,” said Kerry K. Carney, DDS, editor-in-chief of the CDA Journal.

Articles featured in this Journal collection include:

  • Forensic Odontology and Bite Mark Analysis: Understanding the Debate
  • Is It Likely that Bite Mark Analysis Will in the Future Meet the Criteria Necessary for Use in the Justice System?
  • Bitemark Analysis: The Legal vs Scientific Battle for Justice
  • The Good and Bad Legacies of Forensic Odontology
  • One: The Innocence Project
  • The Death Row Case of Ray Krone, the Beginning of the End of Bite Mark Evidence in the United States
  • American Board of Forensic Odontology Standards and Guidelines for Evaluating Bitemarks

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The Journal of the California Dental Association is an award-winning peer-reviewed scientific publication that keeps dentists up to date about scientific advances, business management strategies and new products.

About the California Dental Association

The California Dental Association represents organized dentistry in the state of California. Founded in 1870, CDA is committed to the success of our members in service to their patients and the public. CDA also contributes to the oral health of Californians through various comprehensive programs and advocacy. CDA’s membership consists of more than 27,000 dentists, making it the largest constituent of the American Dental Association. For more information, visit



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