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Measurement of Open Apices of Teeth To Test Chronological Age of Over 14-Year Olds in Living Subjects

NCJ Number
Forensic Science International Volume: 174 Issue: 2-3 Dated: January 2008 Pages: 217-221
Roberto Cameriere; Hervoje Brkic; Branko Ermenc; Luigi Ferrante; Maja Ovsenik; Mariano Cingolani
Date Published
January 2008
5 pages
This study examined whether it was possible to distinguish children who were younger and older than age 14 by measuring the open apices of teeth.
The study found that if the root apices of the seven teeth in the right lower jaw of a child were completely closed, and the ratio of the sum of third molar root apices divided by tooth length was lower than 1.1, then there was a high probability that the subject was at least 14 years old. Using this test, the percentage of false negatives was 19 percent, and the percentage of false positives was 5 percent. From a forensic perspective, the small percentage of false positives is particularly important, because it is a more serious error to consider a subject younger than 14 years old as chargeable for a crime than an error in which a person is older than 14 but is not charged with a crime because he/she is estimated to be younger than 14 years old. The study evaluated the orthopantomograms (OPGs) of 447 persons (47 percent female) between the ages of 12 and 16 years old whose nationalities were Italian, Croatian, and Slovenian. All were Caucasian and had all teeth on the right lower jaw present, with no obvious dental pathology on panoramic radiology related to the right lower jaw, tilted third molar. The study analyzed the apical ends of the roots of the seven left permanent mandibular teeth of each individual. 6 tables, 1 figure, and 17 references


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