Problems associated with the evaluation of bite marks can be reduced by careful attention to details. Proper assessment of bite marks can be helpful to reduce the number of suspects and to exclude someone who is innocent.


Potential errors that can occur during the evaluation of bite markings:

(1) failure to collect and analyze saliva or other fluids from the site

(2) failure to make a cast of the wound (preferably as soon as possible)

(3) failure to take sufficient photographs of the right type or quality

(4) failure to use the same scale when taking or comparing photographs

(5) failure to examine the scene for food or other objects that may show bite marks

(6) evaluating a bite with a small number of tooth marks (usually need at least 4 or 5)

(7) failure to take into account shrinkage of the site after death

(8) basing the interpretation upon the assessment by a single investigator

(9) having the assessment performed by someone who is not an expert

(10) failure to take into account the mechanics of the bite (force applied, curvature of surface, etc).

(11) failure to adequately preserve the evidence or to maintain a chain of custody


The more distinctive the bite mark the more likely that an identification can be made. A bite mark made by someone with good dentition may be a challenge to


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