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Keywords:

  • teeth;
  • dentition;
  • children;
  • age estimation;
  • forensic

ABSTRACT

Dental age estimation charts are frequently used to assess maturity and estimate age. The aim of this study was to assess the accuracy of estimating age of three dental development charts (Schour and Massler, Ubelaker, and the London Atlas). The test sample was skeletal remains and dental radiographs of known-age individuals (N = 1,506, prenatal to 23.94 years). Dental age was estimated using charts of Schour and Massler, Ubelaker, and The London Atlas. Dental and chronological ages were compared using a paired t-test for the three methods. The absolute mean difference between dental and chronological age was calculated. Results show that all three methods under-estimated age but the London Atlas performed better than Schour and Massler and Ubelaker in all measures. The mean difference for Schour and Massler and Ubelaker was −0.76 and −0.80 years (SD 1.27 year, N = 1,227) respectively and for the London Atlas was −0.10 year (SD 0.97 year, N = 1,429). Further analysis by age category showed similar accuracy for all three methods for individuals younger than 1 year. For ages 1–18, the mean difference between dental and chronological ages was significant (P < 0.05) for Schour and Massler and Ubelaker and not significant (P > 0.05) for the London Atlas for most age categories. These findings show that the London Atlas performs better than Schour and Massler and Ubelaker and represents a substantial improvement in accuracy of dental age estimation from developing teeth. Am J Phys Anthropol 154:70–78, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.