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Forensic Age Estimation in a Chicago Pediatric Population

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posted on 01.08.2019, 00:00 by Matthew Strumpf
Purpose: To determine whether higher than normal body mass index (BMI) has a greater effect on timing of dental development than ancestry, and to what extent that may impact forensic odontologists when identifying human remains. Methods: A retrospective cross-sectional chart review was undertaken using the University of Illinois at Chicago Pediatric and Orthodontic database of panoramic radiographs of healthy 6 to 12-year-olds without craniofacial anomalies. Age, ancestry/race, BMI, sex, height, and weight were obtained. Dental development was assessed using the Demirjian method, and chronological age was subtracted from estimated dental age to determine relative dental timing (ΔAge). BMI was calculated based upon recorded height/weight within 6 months of time of radiograph. The CDC BMI percentiles were used to group subjects (underweight: <5th percentile; normal: 5-84th; overweight 85-94th; obese >95th). Results: Radiographs and demographic information of 290 children were evaluated. There was no difference in timing of dental development (accelerated/delayed) across ancestry groups (African-American, Euro-American, Hispanic, Asian; P=.15). Individuals with higher BMIs (the obese and overweight groups) had statistically significant overestimation of age (P<.001). The mean age difference in normal BMI was (-0.009 years; SD +-1.110 years); overweight (0.471yr; SD +-1.247yr) and obese (0.489yr; SD +-1.019yr). Compared to normal weight, overweight individuals’ age was overestimated by 5.64 months and obese children by 5.87 months on average. Conclusions: Our results suggest that BMI may have a greater effect on dental age estimation using Demirjian’s method than ancestry. Further research with a larger sample and using another method is needed.



Nicholas, Christina


Nicholas, Christina


Pediatric Dentistry

Degree Grantor

University of Illinois at Chicago

Degree Level


Degree name

MS, Master of Science

Committee Member

Marion, Ian AlQahtani, Sakher da Fonseca, Marcio A

Submitted date

August 2019

Thesis type




Issue date


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