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Radiographic evaluation of Gustafson’s criteria for the purpose of forensic age diagnostics

Abstract

The main criteria used in dental age estimation in living young individuals are mineralisation and eruption of the third molars. In order to further diversify the spectrum of characteristics after completion of third molar development, tests were undertaken to determine whether the characteristics studied by Gustafson can be ascertained with the required forensic certainty with the aid of the orthopantomogram and whether the evaluation of these could render forensic odontological age diagnoses possible beyond the 18th year of life. For this purpose, 1,299 conventionally produced orthopantomograms of 650 female and 649 male Germans aged from 15 to 40 years were studied. The characteristics of secondary dentin formation, cementum apposition, periodontal recession and attrition were evaluated in all the mandibular premolars. The correlation of the individual characteristics with chronological age was studied with the aid of a multiple regression analysis in which chronological age formed the dependent variable. Depending on the tooth studied, the R values amounted to 0.65 to 0.73; the standard error of estimate was 5.3 to 5.7 years. Basically, the regression equations calculated can be recommended for age estimation in living individuals, although it should be borne in mind that the applicability of the new method presented is limited by the quality of the X-ray images.

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Correspondence to Andreas Schmeling.

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Olze, A., Hertel, J., Schulz, R. et al. Radiographic evaluation of Gustafson’s criteria for the purpose of forensic age diagnostics. Int J Legal Med 126, 615–621 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00414-012-0701-y

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00414-012-0701-y

Keywords

  • Forensic age estimation
  • Dental age
  • Degenerative changes
  • Gustafson’s criteria
  • Multiple regression