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Archive for Monday, October 17, 2005

Dental records used to ID Katrina victims

October 17, 2005

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— The three tiny pieces of film were crucial. Side by side on a light box, the X-rays matched perfectly with the digital images on the computer screen, down to each filling, crown and bridge.

"We just got another one!" forensic dentist David Senn announced, poking his head outside a small trailer where a handful of people pored over computer images of teeth.

As hundreds of Katrina dead remain unnamed and families continue searching for bodies, Senn said a team of dental workers began Thursday to piece together identities through teeth - in many instances some of the only markers Katrina didn't wipe away.

"Dental records are a great solution. A good dental record is akin ... to a good fingerprint," said Louis Cataldie, the Louisiana state medical examiner and the head of the state's Katrina body recovery and identification efforts.

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