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Third Molar Development in the Estimation of Chronologic Age in American Blacks as Compared With Whites

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Third molar (M3) development determined from dental radiographs in American blacks (African Americans; n=637) aged 14–24 years was contrasted against American whites (n=563) from a previous study using the method of Demirjian et al. Differences were assessed using descriptive statistics and the parametric proportional hazards model. For each developmental stage, the probability of an individual being at least 18 years old was evaluated. As in other M3 studies, there were highly significant modal differences, but the age ranges at each stage overlapped considerably. Black–white differences were highly significant with developmental stages occurring in blacks a year or so earlier. Gender differences also varied significantly, both with increasing age and between races. The empirical likelihood that an African American male with fully developed M3's is at least 18 years old is 93% and that for African American female is 84%. Corresponding risks for whites are 90% and 93%.

Keywords: African Americans; age determination; forensic science; odontology; third molars

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Periodontology, College of Dentistry, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN 38163. 2: Department of Biologic and Diagnostic Sciences, College of Dentistry, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN 38163.

Publication date: March 1, 2007


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