Accuracy of dental age in non-adults: a comparison of two methods for age estimation using radiographs of developing teeth
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The aim of this study was to test the accuracy of two methods for age estimation in non-adults, Cameriere’s European formula and AlQahtani’s London Atlas, on a multi-ethnic American sample. Radiographs of European, Hispanic and American Indian children (166 girls and 194 boys) aged between 6 and 17 years were analyzed following both methods. The accuracy of each method was assessed using the mean difference and the mean of the absolute values of the residuals (mean prediction error). Categories relating to ethnicity, sex and age were applied to the assessment of accuracy in order to compare these two approaches. Results indicate that Cameriere’s European formula significantly underestimated age for both sexes (p < 0.001), with a mean difference of -1.19 years for girls and -1.32 years for boys, prompting the first author to create an American specific formula. The American formula slightly overestimated age but this difference was not significant (p>0.05). Using Cameriere’s European formula the mean prediction error (ME) was 1.51 years for girls and 1.58 years for boys while the ME was 1.24 years for girls and 1.13 years for boys, using the American formula. The London Atlas underestimated age with a mean difference of -0.18 for girls and -0.16 for boys. The absolute mean difference was 1.04 years for girls and 1 year for boys. For both methods, differences in accuracy based on sex or ethnic group were not significant (P>0.05). The results indicate that both methods may be useful for estimating age in a forensic context.