DENTAL NEWS; Lecture On Forensic Odontology – A Paradigm Unexplored

Forensic Odontology is the application of dental science to legal investigation. It plays a major role in identification of those individuals who cannot be identified by visual or other means. Unfortunately, in developing countries like Pakistan, Forensic Dentistry is a field lacking in development.

A lecture on Forensic Odontology was arranged in Lahore Medical & Dental College, Lahore by the Department of Oral Medicine & Diagnosis. Dr Khurram Nadeem (HOD), Dr Uzair Abu Bakar, Dr Fizzah Ali (Organizers) and Dr Amber Bari Salimi (Moderator) organized this lecture for students, house officers, postgraduate trainees and the faculty members to give them the basic knowledge of the subject.

The lecture began with a few words from Prof. Dr Amir Bashir, HOD Forensic Medicine Department LMDC, regarding the history of forensic odontology and its significance in the modern world.

The lecture was delivered by Dr Humayoun Temoor Baig, Pakistan’s first Forensic Odontologist, qualified from the UK, where he got trained under the supervision of New Scotland Yard and INTERPOL Elite Panel at University of Glamorgan and University of Cardiff. He joined the Office of Surgeon Medicolegal Punjab in 2011 as Forensic Odontologist Punjab. He is also a member of Provincial Standing Medical Board & has since then conducted numerous identification and age estimation cases. He has had the honour of submitting Odontology curriculum to Pakistan Medical and Dental Council for Dental undergraduates.

He emphasized on the requirement of qualified national Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) and said that disaster management should be a part of health administration curriculum. He also proposed mobile mortuaries at provincial level to better facilitate the identification process and enhance the local capacity of cold storage. He presented some case studies of his own which was followed by a thorough question answer session and fruitful discussion.

Dr Humayoun has the honour of conducting the first Dental identification operation in Pakistan during the unfortunate PK661 crash which included the casualty of Junaid Jamshed among others. He is also contact for INTERPOLs Forensic Odontology subcommittee. Currently he is part of the reconstruction team at King Edward Medical University who serves Counter Terrorism Department Punjab.

The lecture ended with a take home message for all dental professionals to broaden their scope and find careers in fields as Forensic Odontology.

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