Update on DNA analysis for all unidentified human remains: our main laboratory that OSP uses, the University of North Texas, has been shut down and non-operational for the last 8 weeks. We will not see DNA results on any of our UPs for quite some time. A realistic timeline would probably be well over a year.
These are frustrating facts, but I think a well-educated public is a stronger public. We strive for identifications every day with other means besides DNA: dental records comparisons, fingerprints (if available), tattoos, circumstantial evidence, etc. The truth is it can be difficult to find dental records for missing persons, as most adults don't really advertise to their family/friends who their dentist is. If we have a skull and mandible of an unidentified decedent, this is clearly the most efficient way to exclude individuals and possibly identify our decedent and bring resolutions to families.
Dentists offices purge records periodically, some every 7 years. Let your dentist know that if they are planning on purging your paper records, you want them for your personal files. I made this request to my dentist...he thought it was odd, but gave me the records when they were updating to digital files. It doesn't hurt, and even if your dental profile changes over the years, there are still physical features caught in x-rays that can be beneficial for identification. Thanks for listening, and thank you for the tips! Dr. Nici