International Journal of Legal Medicine

, Volume 118, Issue 3, pp 170–173

Forensic age estimation in living subjects: the ethnic factor in wisdom tooth mineralization

  • Andreas Olze
  • Andreas Schmeling
  • Mari Taniguchi
  • Hitoshi Maeda
  • Piet van Niekerk
  • Klaus-Dieter Wernecke
  • Gunther Geserick
Original Article


Radiological assessment of the mineralization stage of third molars is a major criterion for age estimation of living people involved in criminal proceedings. To date insufficient knowledge has been obtained about how the ethnic origin can influence tooth mineralization. A comparative study of wisdom tooth mineralization was carried out on three population samples: one German, one Japanese and one South African. To this end, 3,652 conventional orthopantomograms were evaluated on the basis of Demirjian’s stages. The Japanese subjects were on average 1–2 years older than their German counterparts upon reaching stages D–F, whereas the South African subjects were on average 1–2 years younger than the Germans when displaying stages D–G. To enhance the accuracy of forensic age estimates based on wisdom tooth mineralization we recommend the use of population-specific standards.


Dental age Third molar Tooth mineralization Ethnicity 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andreas Olze
    • 1
  • Andreas Schmeling
    • 1
  • Mari Taniguchi
    • 2
  • Hitoshi Maeda
    • 2
  • Piet van Niekerk
    • 3
  • Klaus-Dieter Wernecke
    • 4
  • Gunther Geserick
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Legal Medicine (Charité)Humboldt University of BerlinBerlinGermany
  2. 2.Department of Legal MedicineOsaka City University Medical SchoolOsakaJapan
  3. 3.Department of Oral Pathology and Oral BiologyUniversity of PretoriaPretoriaSouth Africa
  4. 4.Institute of Medical Biometry (Charité)Humboldt University of Berlin BerlinGermany

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