Conventional versus digital approach for measuring dentin translucency in forensic age estimation

Varun Chopra, Gopal Thodasam, Zeeshan Heera Ahmad, Simranjit Singh, Indresh Rajawat, Sonal Gupta
Journal of Natural Science, Biology, and Medicine 2015, 6 (1): 139-43

BACKGROUND: Root dentine translucency remains the method of choice providing the most accurate results for age estimation. Conventionally, translucency is measured using calipers. In recent times, computer-based methods are proposed, which require the use of custom-built software programs.

AIMS AND OBJECTIVES: The aim was to use a digital method to measure dentinal translucency on sectioned teeth and to compare digital measurements to conventionally obtained translucency measurements.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: A total of 200 extracted permanent teeth were collected and were sectioned to a thickness of 250 μm. Translucency measurements were obtained using the digital method and compared with those obtained using a caliper.

RESULTS: Correlation coefficients of translucency measurements to age were statistically significant for both methods (P < 0.001), although marginally higher correlation was observed for the conventional method (r = 0.612). Application of derived linear regression equations on an independent sample (n = 25) suggested that conventional approach is marginally better in estimating age to within 5 years of the actual age, both the methods are similar in assessing age within 5-10 years of the actual age, and digital approach is marginally better in estimating age beyond 10 years of actual age.

CONCLUSION: The translucency measurements obtained by the two methods were identical, with no clear superiority of one method over the other.

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