Forensic dentistry is an integral part of the forensic science in answering medico-legal questions involving the dentition and maxillofacial structures. The University of Tennessee, Graduate School of Medicine Fellowship in Forensic Dentistry is a sixteen (16) month program beginning in January of each year providing extensive classroom and morgue-based "hands-on" exposure and training in all aspects of forensic dentistry. All applicants for this Fellowship must have a DDS, DMD or equivalent degree.
The Forensic Dentistry Fellowship instruction includes studies and hands-on experience in the areas of forensic dental identification; disaster victim identification; forensic dental age assessment; human abuse recognition; bitemark recognition, analysis and comparison; jurisprudence; report writing; and, an introduction to forensic anthropology, crime scene dynamics and clandestine grave recovery.
Completion of this program will provide the dentist an opportunity to pursue forensic dentistry careers assisting their local communities, jurisdictions and forensic laboratories. Additionally, it is specifically designed to assist those individuals interested seeking the education, training and experience required to apply for certification in the American Board of Forensic Odontology (ABFO).
The educational objectives for the Forensic Odontology Fellowship are:
Paula C. Brumit, DDS, D-ABFO
University of Tennessee Medical Center and the University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine
Department of General Dentistry conference room
Lecture -smart board and dry laboratory capability
Forensic Dentistry conference room and dissection/wet laboratory
Lecture - smart board and dry laboratory capability
Forensic Dentistry laboratory
Mineralized tissue histology/thin section facility
Regional Forensic Center (Knox County Medical Examiner’s Office)
Human identification casework
Decomposition and skeletal autopsy and processing facilities
Forensic skeletal dry laboratory
Examination of remains
Collaboration with pathologist
National Forensic Academy - Law Enforcement Innovation Center (Oak Ridge, Tennessee)
Classroom and wet laboratory
Department of General Dentistry’s dry lab skeletal collection
Cumberland Forest Decomposition Facility (Morgan County, Tennessee)
Soft tissue decomposition facility for donated bodies
Forensic archaeology training - surface scatter and clandestine grave recovery
Forensic entomology - significance for TSD estimation
A “Letter of Continuing Education Hours Awarded; Forensic Dentistry Fellowship" will be issued by the University of Tennessee, Graduate School of Medicine, Department of General Dentistry detailing the modules attended and number of continuing dental education hours available (approximately 350). No academic degree or certification is awarded. Successful completion of this Fellowship should meet the educational requirement for membership in the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS), Odontology Section and the educational requirement for application to the American Board of Forensic Odontology (ABFO).
Applications for the Forensic Dentistry Fellowship will be accepted during the annual open application period (August 15th - November 30th). Applications are not considered complete until dental school transcripts, personal CV, and letter of recommendation are received by the department. All Applicants will be required to complete a background check. The fee for the fellowship is $15,000 USD.
For more information about the Forensic Dentistry Fellowship, please contact Martha Gale.
Murray Marks, PhD, Associate Professor of General Dentistry and Regional Forensic Center forensic anthropologist; William Bass, PhD, founder of UT’s forensic anthropology program; and Forensic Dentistry Fellow Dr. Paige Smalley are conducting research looking at the length of time it takes the periodontal ligament to decompose, which releases the teeth from the alveolar bone after exposure to a variety of natural elements such as temperature. The goal of this project is to provide forensic experts with another tool to determine approximate time since death.
In order to perform proper bitemark analysis and comparison, the forensic dentist must be able to accurately detect and recognize photographic distortion and develop computer-assisted skills for image rectification, overlay fabrication, and bitemark comparison techniques. These techniques are commonly performed in Photoshop.
This course is designed to provide licensed dental professionals the education and hands-on training in the use of computer assisted techniques and methodology required in bitemark analysis and comparison.
Dr. Paula Brumit
Dr. James Lewis
The Department of General Dentistry offers a one-year Dental Operating Room Fellowship created to meet the growing demand of the special needs population. Dr. O. Lee Wilson, Chair, Dentistry, has been working with special needs children for more than 27 years through the Department of General Dentistry, and he has found that the best method to treat overly sensitive patients is to take them into the operating room so that they can be put to sleep under anesthesia.
Fellows who participate in the Dental Operating Room Fellowship are required to have completed one year of residency training, and two years is preferred. The applicant must possess a DMD/DDS and a State of Tennessee Dental License. During the program, the fellow will rotate between the departments of Anesthesia, Medicine, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, and Pre-Op Clinic. The fellow will manage the Dental Simulation Center as well as teach and train the general practice residents. The fellow will also present at the Annual Special Care Dental Meeting. At the end of the one-year experience, the fellow will be properly equipped to practice in the operating room setting to treat the special needs population.
Dental fellowships are considered rare, and a mechanism for accreditation does not yet exist. A generous donation from Delta Dental will help fund the program.
""I find it interesting that by using something as little and unique as a tooth, I can help families identify a loved one,"
Paige Smalley, DMD
The University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine
1924 Alcoa Highway
Knoxville, Tennessee 37920 | 865-305-9290
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