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Features which suggest that a skin lesion on a child is a bite

The following is a summary of the systematic review findings up to the date of our most recent literature search. If you have a specific clinical case, we strongly recommend you read all of the relevant references as cited and look for additional material published outside our search dates.


The features which suggest that a skin lesion on a child is a bite include the following:1-5

  • An annular appearance of the lesion made by two opposing concave arcs
  • Irregularities within the arc secondary to individual tooth characteristics
  • A central ecchymotic area within the bite mark can occur
  • Individual characteristics within the bite mark can be further analysed by forensic dentists to assist in identifying or excluding perpetrators

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  1. Fulton PR. Child abuse and a bite mark. A case report. Journal of Forensic Odonto-Stomatology. 1984;2(2):53-55 [Pubmed citation only]
  2. Gold MH, Roenigk HH, Smith ES, Pierce LJ. Human bite marks. Differential diagnosis. Clinical Pediatrics. 1989;28(7):329-331 [Pubmed]
  3. Lee LY, Ilan J, Mulvey T. Human biting of children and oral manifestations of abuse. A case report and literature review. Journal of Dentistry for Children. 2002;69(1):92-95 [Pubmed]
  4. Levine LJ. The solution of a battered-child homicide by dental evidence: report of case. Journal of the American Dental Association. 1973;87(6):1234-1236 [Pubmed citation only]
  5. MacDonald DG, MacFarlane TW. Forensic odontology. Report of a case involving bitemarks. Glasgow Dental Journal. 1972;3(1):16-19 [Pubmed citation only]


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