Dental age estimation: The role of probability estimates at the 10 year threshold

Victoria S. Lucas*, Fraser McDonald, Monica Neil, Graham Roberts

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    6 Citations (Scopus)


    Introduction The use of probability at the 18 year threshold has simplified the reporting of dental age estimates for emerging adults. The availability of simple to use widely available software has enabled the development of the probability threshold for individual teeth in growing children. Materials and methods Tooth development stage data from a previous study at the 10 year threshold were reused to estimate the probability of developing teeth being above or below the 10 year thresh-hold using the NORMDIST Function in Microsoft Excel. The probabilities within an individual subject are averaged to give a single probability that a subject is above or below 10 years old. To test the validity of this approach dental panoramic radiographs of 50 female and 50 male children within 2 years of the chronological age were assessed with the chronological age masked. Once the whole validation set of 100 radiographs had been assessed the masking was removed and the chronological age and dental age compared. The dental age was compared with chronological age to determine whether the dental age correctly or incorrectly identified a validation subject as above or below the 10 year threshold. Results The probability estimates correctly identified children as above or below on 94% of occasions. Only 2% of the validation group with a chronological age of less than 10 years were assigned to the over 10 year group. Conclusions This study indicates the very high accuracy of assignment at the 10 year threshold. Further work at other legally important age thresholds is needed to explore the value of this approach to the technique of age estimation.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)61-64
    Number of pages4
    JournalJournal Of Forensic And Legal Medicine
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


    • Dental age assessment
    • Dental age estimation
    • Dental development
    • NORMDIST function
    • Probability
    • Tooth development stages


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