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Accurate age classification using manual method and deep convolutional neural network based on orthopantomogram images

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Abstract

Age estimation is an important challenge in many fields, including immigrant identification, legal requirements, and clinical treatments. Deep learning techniques have been applied for age estimation recently but lacking performance comparison between manual and machine learning methods based on a large sample of dental orthopantomograms (OPGs). In total, we collected 10,257 orthopantomograms for the study. We derived logistic regression linear models for each legal age threshold (14, 16, and 18 years old) for manual method and developed the end-to-end convolutional neural network (CNN) which classified the dental age directly to compare with the manual method. Both methods are based on left mandibular eight permanent teeth or the third molar separately. Our results show that compared with the manual methods (92.5%, 91.3%, and 91.8% for age thresholds of 14, 16, and 18, respectively), the end-to-end CNN models perform better (95.9%, 95.4%, and 92.3% for age thresholds of 14, 16, and 18, respectively). This work proves that CNN models can surpass humans in age classification, and the features extracted by machines may be different from that defined by human.

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Funding

This work was supported by the National Key Research and Development Program of China under Grant No. 2017YFA0700800, the National Natural Science Foundation of China under Grant Nos. 81701869, 61971343 and 61627811, and the Key Research and Development Program of Shaanxi Province of China under Grant No. 2020GXLH-Y-008.

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Correspondence to Shaoyi Du.

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Guo, Yc., Han, M., Chi, Y. et al. Accurate age classification using manual method and deep convolutional neural network based on orthopantomogram images. Int J Legal Med 135, 1589–1597 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00414-021-02542-x

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