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01.03.2012 | Original Article | Ausgabe 2/2012

International Journal of Legal Medicine 2/2012

Human age estimation combining third molar and skeletal development

Zeitschrift:
International Journal of Legal Medicine > Ausgabe 2/2012
Autoren:
P. W. Thevissen, J. Kaur, G. Willems

Abstract

The wide prediction intervals obtained with age estimation methods based on third molar development could be reduced by combining these dental observations with age-related skeletal information. Therefore, on cephalometric radiographs, the most accurate age-estimating skeletal variable and related registration method were searched and added to a regression model, with age as response and third molar stages as explanatory variable. In a pilot set up on a dataset of 496 (283 M; 213 F) cephalometric radiographs, the techniques of Baccetti et al. (2005) (BA), Seedat et al. (2005) (SE), Caldas et al. (2007) and Rai et al. (2008) (RA) were verified. In the main study, data from 460 (208 F, 224 M) individuals in an age range between 3 and 26 years, for which at the same day an orthopantogram and a cephalogram were taken, were collected. On the orthopantomograms, the left third molar development was registered using the scoring system described by Gleiser and Hunt (1955) and modified by Köhler (1994) (GH). On the cephalograms, cervical vertebrae development was registered according to the BA and SE techniques. A regression model, with age as response and the GH scores as explanatory variable, was fitted to the data. Next, information of BA, SE and BA + SE was, respectively, added to this model. From all obtained models, the determination coefficients and the root mean squared errors were calculated. Inclusion of information from cephalograms based on the BA, as well as the SE, technique improved the amount of explained variance in age acquired from panoramic radiographs using the GH technique with 48%. Inclusion of cephalometric BA + SE information marginally improved the previous result (+1%). The RMSE decreased with 1.93, 1.85 and 2.03 years by adding, respectively, BA, SE and BA + SE information to the GH model. The SE technique allows clinically the fastest and easiest registration of the degree of development of the cervical vertebrae. Therefore, the choice of technique to classify cervical vertebrae development in addition to third molar development is preferably the SE technique.

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