Dental Evidence of Exhumed Human Remains From the 1991 War in Croatia

Brkic, Hrvoje; Šlaus, Mario; Keros, Jadranka; Jerolimov, Vjekoslav; Petrovecki, Mladen
June 2004
Collegium Antropologicum;2004 Supplement 2, Vol. 28, p259
Academic Journal
The aim of this paper is to present the post mortem dental evidence and dental health of the victims exhumed throughout the territories of Croatia that was temporarily occupied during the war. A total number of 62,432 teeth out of 1,253 human bodies exhumed from 5 different counties were analyzed. The majority of victims inhabited those areas before 1991. Post mortem dental characteristics were analyzed according to the American Board of Forensic Odontology and WHO methodology. The results show the highest level of the dental health before 1991 in the Vukovarsko-Srijemska County. The decayed (D), missing (M), filling (F), teeth (T), DMFT of that County was at the lowest level i.e. at 5.2. In all of the other counties, it was always between 6 and 12. The material most frequently used for the dental fillings was amalgam. Its highest frequency level was recorded in the County 4 (8%) and lowest in the County 1 (1.5%), p<0.001. The most frequent prosthodontic appliances were acrylic dentures. Their frequency was lowest in the County 5 (1.3%) and highest in the County 3 (11.6%), p<0.001. Determination of sex and dental age showed that victims were mostly men (79%) of middle and elderly age (89%). Teeth were useful also for monitoring of the quality of exhumations -- taking into consideration number of empty dental sockets. The highest number of empty dental sockets was recorded in the County 3 (40.4%) and lowest in the County 1 (13.5%), p<0.001. Even after many years in the soil, teeth proved to be the most preserved human organs and valuable indicators of identity as well as of the way of life before death.


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