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Root Dentin Translucency and Forensic International Dental Database: Methodology for estimation age-at-death in adults using single-rooted teeth

NCJ Number
Forensic Science International Volume: 317 Dated: 2020
Roberto C. Parra; Douglas H. Ubelaker; Joe Adserias-Garriga; Karen J. Escalante-Flórez; Lucio A. Condori; Jane E. Buikstra
Date Published
December 2020

This research focuses on a degenerative indicator of the dentin (Root Dentin Translucency) and its combination with Periodontal Height (PH) following the Lamendin’s technique for estimation of the age-at-death in adults.


Estimation of the age-at-death in adults is essential when the identification of deceased persons with unknown identity is required in both humanitarian and judicial contexts. However, the methodologies and the results obtained can be questioned. Various efforts have been developed to adjust procedures to specific populations, always seeking the precision and accuracy of the methodologies. It is known that the estimation of the age-at-death in adults coexists with wide margins of error, due to several reasons, including but not limited to statistical problems, the size of the sample or the physiological process of aging. The main objective of the current research was to demonstrate the applicability of a Bayesian model based on a Forensic International Dental Database (FIDB) that include Root Translucency Height (RTH) and PH as a method to age-at-death in adults. The conclusion of this research was that the combined both indicators become a generalizable age-at-death in adults model for all human populations, where the Bayesian method would offer optimal results in any population. In this way, those populations that do not have had the possibility of validating a specific procedure, now have the opportunity to apply a valid method for estimating age-at-death in adults to global scope. (Publisher Abstract)