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Dentists Offer New Identification Tool

Dentists Offer New Identification Tool

Posted - Jun. 10, 2003 at 4:40 p.m.



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Ed Yeates reporting Dentists are giving law enforcement agencies another way to identify abducted or missing children.

It's called Tooth Printing, and members of the Crown Council of Dentists are offering it to parents free of charge.

Tooth Printing takes only about a minute and a half. But once completed, parents have a permanent record of two different features of their child, which could make identification absolute, if ever needed.

Eight year old Hannah is not getting her teeth drilled or pulled. Instead, Dr. David Powell is softening a new thermal material to make an imprint of her teeth. Hannah bites down and in less than two minutes, her biological blueprint is forever imbedded on the wafer.

DR. DAVID POWELL, SALT LAKE DENTIST: "IF A CHILD IS ABDUCTED, YOU'RE ABLE TO GIVE THIS TO THE LOCAL AUTHORITIES, THE POLICE DEPARTMENT. IT WILL GIVE THEM AN IMPRINT OF THE CHILD'S DENTATION - OF THE TEETH - WHERE THE TEETH ARE. ALSO, IT CAPTURES A SALIVA SAMPLE SO THERE IS ALSO A DNA SAMPLE YOU CAN GIVE THEM."

Once the mold is completed, parents are told to place it inside this plastic bag. They can keep it at home at room temperature. And on the outside, is the name of the child and the date the mold was imprinted."

This is five year old Zachary's first imprint. As he grows, he'll need at least two more.

POWELL: "MINIMUM WOULD BE THREE YEARS OLD. THAT'S WHEN ALL OF THE PRIMARY TEETH ARE IN. SIX YEARS OLD WHEN THE FIRST MOLARS ARE IN. AND TWELVE YEARS OLD WHEN THE SECOND PERMANENT MOLARS ARE IN."

Why are they doing this? Members of the Crown Council say aside from their profession, they too are concerned parents.

POWELL: "BEING A PARENT MYSELF, I KNOW THAT I WORRY. I WORRY. I WORRY A LOT ABOUT MY CHILDREN - ESPECIALLY THESE DAYS."

The Crown Council is an alliance of dentists in North America which yearly raises money for charitable care for children.

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