Gustafson's method for age determination from teeth—a modification for the use of dentists in identification teams

Z Metzger, A Buchner, M Gorsky
Journal of Forensic Sciences 1980, 25 (4): 742-9
Gustafson's method for age determination from teeth is based on the evaluation of ground sections of teeth. Six age-associated parameters are evaluated in the ground section and are compared to a regression curve of age versus the age-associated changes. Two of these changes, transparency of radicular dentin and secondary dentin, have the highest correlation with age. The evaluation of these parameters only from thin (0.25-mm) ground sections may lead to an artificially high "secondary dentin value." These artifacts may be caused by the attempt to include the whole pulp chamber and root canal in a 0.25-mm-thick ground section and by an accidental overgrinding of the apical area of the root, respectively. These artifacts were encountered occasionally even in ground sections prepared by highly trained personnel and became more frequent in ground sections prepared by a person who, though trained, did not use this technique daily. A modification of the data-collecting method is suggested to make possible the use of thick (1.0-mm) ground sections for the evaluation of most of the aging criteria, thereby eliminating the possible inaccuracies in the preparation and evaluation of the thin (0.25-mm) ground sections.

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