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Odontology

Odontology Section members are engaged in practice, education, and research of forensic dentistry (odontology). The main role of the forensic odontologist is to identify human remains. However, they also may be involved with assessment of a person's age, patterned injuries, or abuse and neglect cases.

denise murmam-forensic-odontology

The AAFS has been very helpful to me in both personal and professional ways. When I first became interested in forensic dentistry, the AAFS and the ASFO were the two organizations that were suggested as everyone is welcome to their meetings. The AAFS meetings were for me a wonderful exposure to education and the people who have become my colleagues and friends. Membership in the AAFS is staged, as they are mindful that for people just starting out in forensics, it can be difficult to get experience. The levels of membership requirements point you in the right direction of what you should do next. The Annual Scientific Meetings keep us up to date, exposes us to new ideas and provide a place for the camaraderie of peers with similar interests. I am grateful to the AAFS for being an important part of the foundation of the education and the organization of the forensic sciences.

- Denise C. Murmann, DDS
Fellow

Hear from a Forensic Odontologist

Forensic dentistry (odontology) is a vital branch of forensic science that involves the application of dental knowledge, primarily for the identification of human remains.  The forensic dentist's work includes, the comparison of remains with dental records, the comparison with dental records, the evaluation of bitemarks (animal or human), the comparison with suspect dentitions, the aging of individuals by the dentition to determine chronological age both in the living and in the deceased, the evaluation of an individual's dental/oral injuries to resolve civil (compensation, etc.) or criminal matters (assault, etc.) and, resolving dental malpractice or negligence issues.

SECTION REQUIREMENTS

Entry Level Categories

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Student Affiliate

Academy Requirements

Enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program that would support a forensic science career.

Section Requirements

AAFS Basic Requirements for Student Affiliate must be fulfilled.

Trainee Affiliate

Academy Requirements

  1. Completed the educational requirements, but not the experience requirements for Associate Member
  2. Must be actively working toward completion of the experience requirements through training program/employment that supports a forensic science career 

Section Requirements

  1. AAFS Basic Requirements for Trainee Affiliate must be fulfilled; and
  2. One (1) year or less experience in forensic odontology.

Associate Member

Academy Requirements

  1. Actively engaged in the field of forensic sciences and has made a significant contribution to the cause of advancing forensic science
  2. Earned a baccalaureate or higher academic degree from a U.S. college/university accredited by one of the regional accrediting bodies
  3. Has earned a baccalaureate or higher academic degree from a non-U.S. college or university bearing equivalent accreditation

Section Requirements

  1. AFS Basic Requirements for Associate Member must be fulfilled; and
  2. Applicant must have earned a dental degree (DDS, DMD, or equivalent); and
  3. Applicant must complete forty (40) hours of Forensic Odontology education. This coursework shall be completed in the seven (7) years preceding application and must include:
    1. A minimum of four (4) hours of Bitemarks, four (4) hours of Dental Identification, and four hours of either Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) or Age Estimation;
    2. The balance of courses may be on any topic relevant to Forensic Odontology;
    3. Applicant may gain a maximum of either eight (8) hours of credit by attending the Annual Meeting of the American Society of Forensic Odontology or eight (8) hours of the AAFS Scientific Sessions of the Odontology Section;
    4. Certificates from these courses submitted must contain the learning objectives and outcomes and how those were met as well as the number of hours per topic; and
  4. Be actively associated with an agency engaged in forensic odontology; and
  5. Have one (1) year or more of experience in forensic odontology; and
  6. Two (2) letters of reference. References must be either full Members or Fellows of the Odontology Section of the AAFS and must be able to comment knowledgeably on the applicant's qualifications. International applicants residing outside of North America (defined as United States, Canada, and Mexico), who are unable to secure the required two (2) letters of reference, may submit one (1) letter of reference from a full Member or Fellow of the Odontology Section of the AAFS and one (1) letter of reference from a non- member who are of appropriate professional standing and can comment knowledgeably on the applicant's qualifications.
SECTION REQUIREMENTS

Promotion Categories

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WHILE SERVING AS AN ASSOCIATE MEMBER

To Member

Academy Requirements

  1. Attendance at the annual conferences and participation in the program
  2. Performs outstanding service in the execution of his/her regular responsibilities
  3. Contributions made to the AAFS or latest advancement as service to forensic science research
  4. Service in the area of forensic science education or training acquired throughout his/her career

Section Requirements

While serving as an Associate Member, the applicant must:

  1. Fulfill the AAFS Basic Requirements for Promotion; and
  2. Register and attend a minimum of two (2) annual meetings of the AAFS. The meeting at which the title of Associate Member was conferred, if attended, may be counted; however, the meeting at which the title of Member is being considered shall not be counted.

References not required.

WHILE SERVING AS A MEMBER

To Fellow

Academy Requirements 

  1. Attendance at the annual conferences and participation in the program
  2. Performs outstanding service in the execution of his/her regular responsibilities
  3. Contributions made to the AAFS or latest advancement as service to forensic science research
  4. Service in the area of forensic science education or training acquired throughout his/her career

Section Requirements

While serving as a Member, the applicant must:

  1. Fulfill the AAFS Basic Requirements for Promotion; and
  2. Register and attend a minimum of two (2) annual meetings of the AAFS. The meeting at which the title of Member was conferred, if attended, may be counted; however, the meeting at which the title of Fellow is being considered shall not be counted; and
  3. Complete two (2) separate presentations that may be given in the same year. These may be oral or poster (author must be listed in official Academy documents as presenting author) in any section of the Academy, including workshop presentations. The following may be substituted for a single presentation: Publication as first author of a forensic article in the Journal of Forensic Sciences or other peer-reviewed journal. This article cannot be the same material as a presentation claimed above.

References not required.