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Third Molar Development: Evaluation of Nine Tooth Development Registration Techniques for Age Estimations


  • Presented at the 63rd Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, February 21–26, 2011, in Chicago, IL.

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Guy Willems, Ph.D.

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

Faculty of Medicine, School of Dentistry

Forensic Odontology Department

Kapucijnenvoer 7

Leuven B-3000




Multiple third molar development registration techniques exist. Therefore the aim of this study was to detect which third molar development registration technique was most promising to use as a tool for subadult age estimation. On a collection of 1199 panoramic radiographs the development of all present third molars was registered following nine different registration techniques [Gleiser, Hunt (GH); Haavikko (HV); Demirjian (DM); Raungpaka (RA); Gustafson, Koch (GK); Harris, Nortje (HN); Kullman (KU); Moorrees (MO); Cameriere (CA)]. Regression models with age as response and the third molar registration as predictor were developed for each registration technique separately. The MO technique disclosed highest R2 (F 51%, M 45%) and lowest root mean squared error (F 3.42 years; M 3.67 years) values, but differences with other techniques were small in magnitude. The amount of stages utilized in the explored staging techniques slightly influenced the age predictions.