International Journal of Legal Medicine

, Volume 119, Issue 1, pp 22–26 | Cite as

Validation of common classification systems for assessing the mineralization of third molars

  • Andreas Olze
  • Dominique Bilang
  • Sven Schmidt
  • Klaus-Dieter Wernecke
  • Gunther Geserick
  • Andreas SchmelingEmail author
Original Article


One major criterion for dental age estimation is the evaluation of third molar mineralization. There are various methods for evaluating tooth mineralization based on classification by stages. The aim of the present work is to assess the validity of the common classification systems. To this end, we analyzed 420 conventional orthopantomograms of German females aged 12–25 years old. The mineralization status of tooth 38 was determined using the stages defined by Gleiser and Hunt, Demirjian et al., Gustafson and Koch, Harris and Nortje and Kullman et al., respectively. Of the methods tested, the most accurate results were obtained with Demirjian et al.’s classification system, which performed best not only for observer agreement but also for the correlation between estimated and true age. It is argued that this is due to the fact that Demirjian et al.’s classification is based on a sufficient number of stages which are defined independently of speculative estimations of length. This leads to the conclusion that the method devised by Demirjian et al. should be used for evaluating the mineralization of third molars for purposes of forensic age determination.


Forensic age estimation Dental age Mineralization Third molars 



This study was supported by a grant from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (GE 968/3–1).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andreas Olze
    • 1
  • Dominique Bilang
    • 1
  • Sven Schmidt
    • 1
  • Klaus-Dieter Wernecke
    • 2
  • Gunther Geserick
    • 1
  • Andreas Schmeling
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Institute of Legal Medicine (Charité)Humboldt University of BerlinBerlinGermany
  2. 2.Institute of Medical Biometry (Charité)Humboldt University of Berlin DRK-Kliniken Westend BerlinGermany

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