Dental Age Estimation – 3D Cone Beam CT

The estimation of dental age remains part of active research in forensic science. In legal proceedings, a series of clinical and radiological examinations are carried out for accurate age estimation of living individuals. The age estimation procedure often includes a physical examination, a dental examination with dental status and an X-ray of the dentition, and an X-ray examination of the left hand or, in addition, the clavicles.

Stomatological staging techniques remain a key part of dental age estimation. In particular, in a medicolegal context, the development of the third molar aids as an age indicator, especially in adolescence. The third molar’s development is mostly impacted by genetics, whereas environmental factors have a lesser effect on the development of the third molar.

Age estimation conducted by the rules of Demirjian and Nolla’s method may detect more advanced stages in minors. Nolla’s and Demirjian’s 2D and 3D imaging techniques present significantly different staging results. Adulthood can only be safely assumed if the third molar is fully matured. On the contrary, many individuals above 18 present immature third molars.

They investigated whether Nolla and Demirjian’s dental staging techniques for conventional 2D panoramic radiographs and 3D cone beam computer-tomography images produce different results in adultescents and young adults. They also looked into how 3D imaging of the third molar can help with age estimation using the staging techniques described by Nolla and Demirjian.

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