Forensic dental age estimation by measuring root dentin translucency area using a new digital technique

Ashith B Acharya
Journal of Forensic Sciences 2014, 59 (3): 763-8
Dentin translucency measurement is an easy yet relatively accurate approach to postmortem age estimation. Translucency area represents a two-dimensional change and may reflect age variations better than length. Manually measuring area is challenging and this paper proposes a new digital method using commercially available computer hardware and software. Area and length were measured on 100 tooth sections (age range, 19-82 years) of 250 μm thickness. Regression analysis revealed lower standard error of estimate and higher correlation with age for length than for area (R = 0.62 vs. 0.60). However, test of regression formulae on a control sample (n = 33, 21-85 years) showed smaller mean absolute difference (8.3 vs. 8.8 years) and greater frequency of smaller errors (73% vs. 67% age estimates ≤ ± 10 years) for area than for length. These suggest that digital area measurements of root translucency may be used as an alternative to length in forensic age estimation.

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