How Do I Become an Odontologist?

Odontologists are dentists who specialize in the forensic dentistry field of criminology. This field combines general dentistry with law enforcement efforts to aid in the investigation of crimes and the identification of victims. To become an odontologist, you’ll need a variety of experiences and post-graduate learning in addition to the necessary certifications and dental education. This coursework could be obtained through a certified organization of forensic scientists or through one of the world’s universities that offer odontology courses.

Dental college, a type of medical school that focuses on teeth research, is a post-baccalaureate requirement for becoming a doctor of dental science (DDS). The first step toward becoming an odontologist is to complete this course. However, many aspiring dentists will need to take classes in forensic science and case law to prepare for the field’s specialized focus. If the dental college does not specialize in bite-mark matching, dental identification, or age estimation methods, these classes are frequently obtained from a certifying agency.

Many people who want to earn credit toward an odontology degree will have to go to a college that offers the program. There are only a few post-graduate degree programs available. The University of Glamorgan in the United Kingdom is said to offer a master’s degree in forensic dentistry. Stateside educational institutions in the United States for a dentist seeking to become an odontologist include the New York County Dental Society and the University of Texas’ Center for Education and Research in Forensics. However, as of 2011, the University of British Columbia’s program in Canada is the only one in North America that offers a graduate odontology degree.

Students studying to become odontologists will learn about a number of notable cases in which forensic dentistry played a role in the eventual prosecution. In Florida, serial killer Ted Bundy was found guilty based on bite marks left on his victims. In the 1970s, forensic dentistry testimony helped convict Canadian serial killer Wayne Boden, who was known as the “vampire rapist” for biting his victims’ breasts on a regular basis.

A WinID computer system compiles this database in the United States and elsewhere. A dentist must first obtain licensure from an accredited society of forensic dentists before becoming an odontologist and gaining access to this information. In the United States, there are four of these organizations, but in other countries, only one may be available for certification and training. These organizations not only ensure that members meet the necessary qualifications to work in the field, but they also provide the seminars, coursework, and on-the-job training that an aspiring odontologist needs to succeed.