X-ray scattering evaluation of ultrastructural changes in human dental tissues with thermal treatment

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Michael A Sandholzer
  • Tan Sui
  • Alexander M Korsunsky

Colleges, School and Institutes


Micro- and ultrastructural analysis of burned skeletal remains is crucial for obtaining a reliable estimation of cremation temperature. Earlier studies mainly focused on heat-induced changes in bone tissue, while this study extends this research to human dental tissues using a novel quantitative analytical approach. Twelve tooth sections were burned at 400-900°C (30-min exposure, increments of 100°C). Subsequent combined small- and wide-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS/WAXS) experiments were performed at the Diamond Light Source synchrotron facility, where 28 scattering patterns were collected within each tooth section. In comparison with the control sample, an increase in mean crystal thickness was found in burned dentine (2.8-fold) and enamel (1.4-fold), however at a smaller rate than reported earlier for bone tissue (5-10.7-fold). The results provide a structural reference for traditional X-ray scattering methods and emphasize the need to investigate bone and dental tissues separately to obtain a reliable estimation of cremation temperature.

Bibliographic note

© 2014 American Academy of Forensic Sciences.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)769-74
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Forensic Sciences
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2014