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Reliability of Third Molar Development for Age Estimation in a Texas Hispanic Population: A Comparison Study

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Evaluating third molars from 950 Hispanic individuals aged 12–22 years using Demirjian’s schematic for crown and root formation found that Hispanic third molar development was 8–18 months faster than American Caucasians as reported by Mincer, Harris and Berryman in 1993. This represents a statistically significant increase. Earlier development was more apparent in the later stages F through H. Hispanic males reach developmental stages faster than Hispanic females and maxillary third molars reach developmental stages faster than mandibular third molars in both sexes. The earliest age observed for stages B–H (e.g., Stage H first observed at age 13.92 years in females) and the oldest age observed for Stages B–G were developed to facilitate age prediction of unknown individuals. Prediction tables for minimum and maximum age for an observed stage (e.g., if a female maxillary third molar is stage F it means she is older than 13 years) for each sex-jaw group were calculated.
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Keywords: Demirjian’s method; Hispanic population; age estimation; chronologic age; dental age estimation; dental development; forensic anthropology; forensic odontology; forensic science; human identification; panoramic radiographs; third molar development; tooth formation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: College of Business Administration, University of North Texas, Denton, TX 76203. 2: General Practice, 1601 E. Alton Gloor, #108, Brownsville, TX 78526. 3: Director, Center for Education and Research in Forensics, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio Dental School, Mail Code 7919, 7703 Floyd C Drive, San Antonio, TX 78229.

Publication date: 01 May 2009

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