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Keywords:

  • dental;
  • age;
  • estimation;
  • forensic;
  • odontology

Abstract

The aim of this study was to develop a comprehensive evidence-based atlas to estimate age using both tooth development and alveolar eruption for human individuals between 28 weeks in utero and 23 years. This was a cross-sectional, retrospective study of archived material with the sample aged 2 years and older having a uniform age and sex distribution. Developing teeth from 72 prenatal and 104 postnatal skeletal remains of known age-at-death were examined from collections held at the Royal College of Surgeons of England and the Natural History Museum, London, UK (M 91, F 72, unknown sex 13). Data were also collected from dental radiographs of living individuals (M 264, F 264). Median stage for tooth development and eruption for all age categories was used to construct the atlas. Tooth development was determined according to Moorrees et al. (J Dent Res 42 (1963a) 490–502; Am J Phys Anthropol 21 (1963b) 205–213) and eruption was assessed relative to the alveolar bone level. Intraexaminer reproducibility calculated using Kappa on 150 teeth was 0.90 for 15 skeletal remains of age <2 years, and 0.81 from 605 teeth (50 radiographs). Age categories were monthly in the last trimester, 2 weeks perinatally, 3-month intervals during the first year, and at every year thereafter. Results show that tooth formation is least variable in infancy and most variable after the age of 16 years for the development of the third molar. Am J Phys Anthropol, 2010. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.