SRM Journal of Research in Dental Sciences

ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year
: 2021  |  Volume : 12  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 22--26

Morphogenic correlation between facial form and intercanine width - an aid in forensic dentistry


S Sivaranjani, V Krishna Mohan, G Nimoshini, Bose Divya, V Vasanthi, Ramya Ramadoss 
 Department of Oral Pathology, SRM Dental College, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. S Sivaranjani
A6, Amrithaganapathy Apartments, Jaganathapuram 2nd Street, Chetpet, Chennai - 600 031, Tamil Nadu
India

Abstract

Background: Forensic odontology is a branch of forensic dentistry that utilizes dental remains for personal identification. When facial recognition is not possible, the facial form of the person can be reconstructed with the help of teeth present and dental structures available. The teeth in the maxillary intercanine region play a vital role for the same. The intercanine width varies considerably between different populations and races and its relation with other facial parameters can be used in personal identification and even facial reconstruction. Aim: The aim of the present study is to assess the correlation between the tooth form and face form by correlating the intercanine width with other facial parameters such as interpupillary distance, interalar distance, interzygomatic distance, and intercanthus distance in the Ethnic Tamil population. Materials and Methods: The study was conducted on a sample of 100 patients aged between 20 and 40 years. Five parameters, namely the intercanine width, interpupillary width, interalar distance, interzygomatic distance, and intercanthus distance was measured using a digital Vernier caliper. The data obtained were tabulated and analyzed using SPSS statistical analysis software. Unpaired t-test was used to compare the mean values of the parameters among males and females. Pearson's correlation was run to assess the relationship between the parameters and P < 0.05 was considered to be statistically significant. Results: Among 100 participants, 50 were male and 50 were female. The mean intercanine width of males (35.1 mm ± 3.8) and females (33.1 mm ± 3.1), mean interzygomatic distance of males (110.8 mm ± 12.3) and females (106.7 mm ± 8.1), and mean interalar distance of males (26.2 mm ± 5.8) and females (28.3 mm ± 4.5) were found to be statistically significant. There was a significant, moderate correlation (r = −0.3; P < 0.05) between the intercanine and intercanthus width in males but not in females. Conclusion: In the present study, a weak correlation existed between intercanine distance and other facial parameters. Several parameters determine the facial form and a combination of these parameters have to be considered thereby reconstruction of the face is possible for future prospectus in forensic dentistry.



How to cite this article:
Sivaranjani S, Mohan V K, Nimoshini G, Divya B, Vasanthi V, Ramadoss R. Morphogenic correlation between facial form and intercanine width - an aid in forensic dentistry.SRM J Res Dent Sci 2021;12:22-26


How to cite this URL:
Sivaranjani S, Mohan V K, Nimoshini G, Divya B, Vasanthi V, Ramadoss R. Morphogenic correlation between facial form and intercanine width - an aid in forensic dentistry. SRM J Res Dent Sci [serial online] 2021 [cited 2021 May 8 ];12:22-26
Available from: https://www.srmjrds.in/text.asp?2021/12/1/22/312468


Full Text

 Introduction



Forensic science is a field that uses scientific methods and techniques to matters under investigation by a court of law. One of the most integral parts of forensic science is personal identification. Forensic dentistry is a branch of forensic science that utilizes dental evidence for the investigation. Most often in mass disasters and industrial accidents where the death toll reaches thousands, identification of the individual becomes difficult, especially when facial recognition is not possible. In such cases, skeletal and dental remains can be used as sources of evidence for identifying the victim.[1]

Both skeletal remains and dental remains have been used extensively in forensics for the identification of victims based on morphology, anthropometry, and odontometry.

In case of forensic crime investigation for registering the bitemarks, intercanine distance and tooth alignment are of significant importance.[2]

When facial recognition of the victim is not possible, the facial form of the person can be reconstructed with the help of teeth present and dental structures available. Facial reconstruction is a technique where the face of the individual which is beyond recognition is rebuilt on the scaffold of the skeletal remains. Since both teeth and bone are resistant to decomposition, reconstruction of the face can be attempted with the help of certain dental parameters.

The most assessed parameter in orthodontic treatment is intercanine width. Intercanine width increases until the eruption of permanent canines and decreases after 12 years of age.[3]

Transverse changes occur during the development of dentition and occlusion, there is a gradual increase in intercanine width in both maxillary and mandibular arches.[4]

The intercanine width varies considerably with different facial forms due to proclination, crowding, and various changes in alignments of individual anterior teeth, thus affecting the profile of a person. Intercanine width also varies among different population and races.[5]

Several studies have been done correlating the facial form and tooth form over the past decades considering dental parameters like intercanine width and correlating it with facial parameters.[6],[7],[8] Intercanine width is important in the forensic investigation for registering bite mark, it is one of the most easily obtained evidence during the investigation and crime detection.[9] but to predict the facial form, bite mark evidence is insufficient, hence there arises a need to correlate and analyze intercanine with facial parameters to predict and picturize facial forms.[7],[10]

The aim of the present study was to assess the correlation between the tooth form and face form by correlating the intercanine width with other facial parameters such as interpupillary distance, interalar distance, interzygomatic distance, and inner intercanthus distance in the Ethnic Tamil population.

 Materials and Methods



A total of 100 patients reporting to the department of oral medicine were recruited for the study. Patients within the age group of 20–40 years were included in the study. Patients with missing maxillary anterior teeth, dental caries, restored anterior teeth, attrited anterior teeth, malocclusions, periodontal problems, tooth fracture, rotation, diastema, and developmental disturbances were excluded from the study.

Materials used

Vernier caliperDivider.

After obtaining verbal informed consent from the patients, the patients were seated comfortably in the dental chair and the intercanine width of the maxilla was measured intraorally using a divider and digital Vernier caliper. Facial parameters – interzygomatic distance, intercanthus distance, interpupillary distance, and interalar distance-were also measured using a digital Vernier caliper.

Determination of intercanine width

After the patient was seated comfortably in the dental chair, the intercanine width was measured intraorally using a divider from the cusp tip of the maxillary right canine to the cusp tip of the maxillary left canine [Figure 1].{Figure 1}

Determination of interpupillary distance

The subjects were seated comfortably on the dental chair in a relaxed position with the head resting firmly against the headrest. Subjects were advised to look straight. The distance between the centers of both the pupils was measured using a digital Vernier caliper [Figure 2].{Figure 2}

Determination of inner intercanthal distance

The inner intercanthal distance was measured between the right and left median angles of the palpebral fissure [Figure 3].{Figure 3}

Determination of bizygomatic distance

The bizygomatic distance was measured as the distance between the most prominent portion of the zygoma on the right side and the most prominent point of the zygoma on the left side [Figure 4].{Figure 4}

Determination of inter alar distance

Interalar distance was measured from the ala region of the left side of the nose to the ala region of the right side of the nose [Figure 5].{Figure 5}

The data obtained were tabulated and analyzed using SPSS statistical analysis software. Unpaired t-test was used to compare the mean values of the parameters among males and females. Pearson's correlation was run to assess the relationship between the parameters and P < 0.05 was considered to be statistically significant.

 Results



Among 100 participants, 50 were male and 50 were female. The mean intercanine width of males (35.1 mm ± 3.8) and females (33.1 mm ± 3.1), mean interzygomatic distance of males (110.8 mm ± 12.3) and females (106.7 mm ± 8.1), and mean interalar distance of males (26.2 mm ± 5.8) and females (28.3 mm ± 4.5) were found to be statistically significant [Table 1]. The mean intercanthal distance was found to be 34.4 mm ± 4.4 in males and 33.3 ± 3.5 mm in females.{Table 1}

Pearson correlation coefficient values between 0 and 0.3 (0 and − 0.3) were considered as weak positive (negative) correlation and values between 0.3 and 0.7 (−0.3 and − 0.7) were considered as moderate positive (negative) correlation. There was a significant, moderate correlation (P < 0.013) between the intercanine and intercanthus width in males (r =-0.3) but not in females (r = 0.2) as shown in [Table 2]. There was only a weak correlation when other variables were analyzed. There existed a negative correlation between intercanine and interpupillary distance for males (r =-0.06) and positive correlation for females (r = 0.08) A positive correlation was observed between intercanine and interalar distance for males (r = 0.04) and negative for females (r = −0.2).{Table 2}

 Discussion



The process of facial approximation or recreating the face of an individual whose identity is not known from the remains is known as forensic facial reconstruction. Most of the times, it is a very easy subjective technique, but sometimes, it is the most controversial technique among the forensic field. However, despite these controversies till date, facial reconstruction has proved to be successful and the advancement in the field still continues with new research techniques developing each day. Intercanine width can be used as a simple, valuable tool to establish the facial form. It can also be used to determine various other anatomical points in the face.

Intercanine width varies with the age of the subjects under study and the population being studied. Hence, in the current study, the Ethnic Tamil population under the age group of 20–40 years were considered. Below 20 years, the intercanine width changes due to the transition from mixed to permanent dentition and as age advance people are prone to periodontal changes that may lead to variations in arch length.[11]

Several anatomic reference points have been studied in the literature in the context of anterior teeth selection for the purpose of restoring the esthetics in partially edentulous and completely edentulous patients. In our study, the intercanine width was correlated with other selected facial parameters such as interpupillary distance, interalar distance, interzygomatic distance, and intercanthus distance. It was observed that intercanine width, interzygomatic distance, and interalar distance were significantly less in females when compared to the males which in accordance with other similar studies.[12],[13],[14] Since there exists a sexual dimorphism with respect to these parameters, the gender-wise analysis was done to determine the correlation between the intercanine width and other parameters.

In our study, there existed a mild correlation between intercanine width and parameters such as interzygomatic, interalar, and interpupillary distance. A similar weak correlation was observed with intercanine width and interalar distance in other studies as well.[13],[15] Smith observed that the intercanine width and interalar distance are not related[16] in contrast to several other studies.[17],[18],[19] Latta et al. established that no correlation exists between the width of the mouth, interzygomatic, interalar, and interpupillary distances in edentulous patients.[20] Gupta et al. conducted an observational study in the population of Himachal Pradesh, which stated that there is a very strong positive correlation between intercanine width and interalar, interpupillary, and inner canthal distances.[21]

In the current study, the Pearson correlation of intercanine width with inner intercanthal distance showed a moderate significance in males. The study by Asli et al. also revealed that a significant relationship exists between intercanine width and intercanthal distance with a mean intercanine width and intercanthal distance of 34.56 mm and 30.75, respectively.[22] Tripathi et al. also found a statistically significant correlation between these parameters.[23] Literature reveals diverse results and the reason for such results could be due to variations in techniques and population under study. Hence, no single parameter can be used as a reliable measurement.

There were several limitations in the current study which should be considered in the studies to be conducted in the future. This study was done for a small population and the results may vary for large population in different geographic locations. Furthermore, this study is not applicable in edentulous patients and does not take into account the influence of resilient soft tissues.

 Conclusion



In the present study, a weak correlation existed between intercanine distance and other facial parameters. Several parameters determine the facial form and a combination of these parameters have to be considered thereby reconstruction of the face is possible for future prospects in forensic dentistry.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

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