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Age Estimation by Pulp/Tooth Ratio in Canines by Mesial and Vestibular Peri-Apical X-Rays

NCJ Number
Journal of Forensic Sciences Volume: 52 Issue: 5 Dated: September 2007 Pages: 1151-1155
Roberto Cameriere Ph.D.; Luigi Ferrante Ph.D.; Maria Giovanna Belcastro Ph.D.; Benedetta Bonfiglioli Ph.D.; Elisa Rastelli Ph.D.; Mariano Cingolani M.D.
Date Published
September 2007
5 pages
This study tested the accuracy of age estimation for 57 male and 43 female skeletons (Caucasian) by X-raying lower and upper canine teeth in order to determine the size of the pulp canals.
The findings determined the appropriateness of using the canine teeth in predicting individuals' ages from the size of the pulp canal, which is known to narrow with age due to the progressive development of secondary dentine (body of the tooth under the enamel) in adults. The study also showed the importance of including all possible information in order to increase the accuracy of age estimations. Two different X-ray projections (labio-lingual and lateral) of the upper and lower canine teeth produced more information and a more accurate age estimation. If both canines of the upper and lower jaws are available, the results are better using both X-ray projections. If only one canine is available, the small difference between the estimates according to labio-lingual X-rays indicates that only the labio-lingual projection is required. The measurement of pulp/dentine ratio is a reliable means for estimating age at death with good approximation both in forensic cases, when estimations must be as precise as possible, as well as in anthropological cases, when the quality of the body may be poor. A total of 200 X-rays were produced from the 57 male and 43 female skeletons, with ages between 20 and 79 years at death. For each skeleton, dental maturity was determined by measuring the pulp/dentine area ratio according to the labio-lingual and lateral X-rays on upper and lower canines. 2 tables, 3 figures, and 14 references