Comparative study of age estimation using dentinal translucency by digital and conventional methods

Sushma Bommannavar, Meena Kulkarni
Journal of Forensic Dental Sciences 2015, 7 (1): 71-5

INTRODUCTION: Estimating age using the dentition plays a significant role in identification of the individual in forensic cases. Teeth are one of the most durable and strongest structures in the human body. The morphology and arrangement of teeth vary from person-to-person and is unique to an individual as are the fingerprints. Therefore, the use of dentition is the method of choice in the identification of the unknown. Root dentin translucency is considered to be one of the best parameters for dental age estimation. Traditionally, root dentin translucency was measured using calipers. Recently, the use of custom built software programs have been proposed for the same.

OBJECTIVES: The present study describes a method to measure root dentin translucency on sectioned teeth using a custom built software program Adobe Photoshop 7.0 version (Adobe system Inc, Mountain View California).

MATERIALS AND METHODS: A total of 50 single rooted teeth were sectioned longitudinally to derive a 0.25 mm uniform thickness and the root dentin translucency was measured using digital and caliper methods and compared. The Gustafson's morphohistologic approach is used in this study.

RESULTS: Correlation coefficients of translucency measurements to age were statistically significant for both the methods (P < 0.125) and linear regression equations derived from both methods revealed better ability of the digital method to assess age.

CONCLUSION: The custom built software program used in the present study is commercially available and widely used image editing software. Furthermore, this method is easy to use and less time consuming. The measurements obtained using this method are more precise and thus help in more accurate age estimation. Considering these benefits, the present study recommends the use of digital method to assess translucency for age estimation.

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