Dental Impressions Part A: Making Bite Plates

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Name __________________________ Period:____

Dental Impressions

Part A: Making Bite Plates

  1. Bend the Styrofoam plate in half so the top of the plate is on the inside.

  2. Put the folded plate into your mouth as far as possible and bite down on it to create an impression. (Caution: do not bite too deep or the plate may break!)

  3. Label one half of the plate with mandible, the other half with maxilla.

  4. Place a transparency on top of your impression and use a permanent marker to trace the dental pattern onto the transparency as accurately as possible.

  5. Now unbend the plate and measure the width and depth of the impressions from both jaws. Also note any unique characteristics such as slanted teeth, spaces, evidence of braces, etc. Record this data below.

  6. Write your name on your plate and place it at the front of the room.

  • Width of impression:

  • Number of tooth marks:

  • Shape or Curvature:

  • Depth of impression:

  • Distances between two teeth:

  • Orientation of each tooth:

Part B: Identifying Dental Patterns

  1. The dental pattern of 6 different maxillae has been traced for you on a separate sheet; they are labeled A-F. Measure the width of each maxilla and note any unique characteristics in the table below.

  2. 7 different dental mold mandibles are located around the room, 6 of these match the maxilla tracings on the separate sheet. Using the tracings of the maxillae attempt to match the upper jaw with the lower jaw labeled 1-6. The lower teeth should fit into the arch of the upper teeth. For most people, the upper teeth will extend beyond the lower teeth.

  3. Complete the data table below.

Maxilla Label

Width (cm)

Shape or Curvature

Mandible Matched

Reasons for selected match







Part C: Identifying Bite Marks

  1. Take the circus peanut and bite into it with the top of the candy facing into your mouth.

  2. Label the top of your impression with an “MX” for maxilla and the bottom with a “MN” for mandible.

  3. Turn in your candy piece at the front of the room. DO NOT WRITE YOUR NAME ON IT!

  4. You will be provided with a numbered circus peanut. Study each bite plate from your classmates to determine 3 likely suspects that could have bitten the circus peanut you were given.

  5. Use measurements or unique markings to identify the suspect based on bite plate. Write the names of your 3 suspects below.

Your circus peanut #____


Width (cm)

Shape or Curvature

Reasons for selected match





  1. Measurements can be taken of dental patterns and bite marks. List what characteristics make dental patterns unique.

  1. Explain how a dental impression provides clues to someone’s age.

  1. How would obtaining dental records help in the identification of unknown bodies?

  1. Besides the use of dental impressions to identify a person, DNA analysis is also being done on teeth. What part of the tooth could contain DNA? Explain your answer.

  1. Find a diagram of adult teeth online. Based on the structure of the teeth, what do you suppose is the function of each of the different types of teeth: Incisors, Canines, Molars

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