Much worse than pulling teeth

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Denise Murmann is a dentist with office hours on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday through Beth Heiferman's dental practice in River Forest. But Murmann hasn't seen patients for the past two weeks. A forensic odontologist, she was assigned to New Orleans as a member of the federal Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team (DMORT).

"She was deployed the day before Katrina hit," Heiferman said.

And, yes, DMORT is as grisly as it sounds. Forensic odontologists identify the dead by their dental records.

"She's a tough one," Heiferman said of her associate. "She's trained to
handle pretty much anything," thanks to mock drills Murmann has been attending every month or so. She was involved in the aftermath of 9/11, Heiferman recalled but didn't finish her training and received her credentials just this July.

"I don't think she expected to be called on so quickly," Heiferman said. The usual stint is two weeks, so she's
hoping Murmann, a resident of Naperville, will be back in the office by this Friday.

?#34;Ken Trainor

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