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Morphometric Analysis of Third Molar Root Development by an Experimental Method Using Digital Orthopantomographs

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The aim of the study was to conduct a morphometric analysis of the root development of the third molar, with the purpose of overcoming the limits of an exclusively morphological analysis. The study was divided in two phases. The first one was the verification of the existence of a constant crown-root (C/R) ratio on a sample of 100 third molars, characterized by a complete root development. The value obtained was used in the second phase to predict the final root's length, knowing the crown height. So we have calculated, on a sample of 322 third molars with developing roots, the final ratios between incomplete roots and complete roots. Statistical analysis was then made with 90%, 95%, and 99% confidence intervals. The results showed a significant difference according to the age of the subject and the limit values, lower and upper, for subjects aged 16 and 17 years versus those aged 18 and 19. For each analysis, the width of the class of tolerance and other statistical indicators were calculated. The results we obtained support the advantage of a morphometric study as opposed to an exclusively morphological study, but all the techniques used to determine the age of a living subject can provide only indications of the biological age, but no certainties as regards chronological age.
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Keywords: age determination; forensic odontology; forensic science; third molar

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Section of Legal Medicine, University of Bari, P.zza Giulio Cesare n.11, 70124 Bari, Italy. 2: Section of Statistics Sciences, University of Bari, Via Camillo Rosalba n.53, 70124 Bari, Italy.

Publication date: July 1, 2008

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