Performance and comparison of the London Atlas technique and Cameriere's third molar maturity index (I3M) for allocating individuals below or above the threshold of 18 years

Adriana de Moraes Correia, Debora da Silva Barbosa, Jeisiana Alves da Silva Alcantara, Patrícia Maria da Costa Oliveira, Paulo Goberlânio de Barros Silva, Ademir Franco, Tácio Pinheiro Bezerra

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1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Age estimation is an important procedure in the forensic practice, especially when it comes to the criminal imputability of juvenile offenders. This study aimed to compare two radiographic methods for dental age estimation in a population of subadults from Northeast Brazil considering their performance on allocating individuals below or above the age threshold of 18 years. A cross-sectional observational study was designed. The sample consisted of 1200 panoramic radiographs of Northeastern Brazilian females (n = 600) and males (n = 600) aged between 16 and 21 years. Dental age estimation was performed using the London Atas technique and Cameriere's third molar maturity index (I3M). Statistical tests were performed to assess the sensitivity, specificity and accuracy of the two methods on distinguishing individuals below or above the legal age threshold of 18 years. Considering the total sample, the London Atlas technique reached sensitivity of 92.3%, specificity of 56% and accuracy of 79.9%. I3M revealed sensitivity of 94.1%, specificity of 55.4% and accuracy of 79.8%. Specificity rates systematically decreased when the sample was progressively stratified based on age groups that narrowed close to 18 years. The methods performed very similar (0.878). The combination of methods did not improve the performance on dental age estimation. The London Atlas and the I3M methods similarly distinguished Brazilian individuals as minors or not. Their performance, however, was suboptimal because of the low rates of specificity that could negatively influence on Court decisions. In other words, the methods could wrongly classify minors into the age of legal majority (culminating in false positives). In practice, the misleading classification could restrict individual rights (in the civil scenario) or even support more severe penalties (in the criminal scenario).

Original languageEnglish
Article number110512
Number of pages5
JournalForensic Science International
Volume317
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020

Keywords

  • Dental age estimation
  • Forensic dentistry
  • Radiology
  • Third molar

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