Testing international techniques for the radiographic assessment of third molar maturation

Vanessa Sartori, Ademir Franco (Lead / Corresponding author), Maria-Salete Linden, Moisés Cardoso, Dora de Castro, Angélica Sartori, Cauane Silva, Micheline Trentin, João-Paulo De Carli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
27 Downloads (Pure)


Background: To assess the radiographic third molar maturation with internationally developed techniques for age estimation.

Material and Methods: The study analyzed 1,062 panoramic radiographs of patients treated at the School of Dentistry of the University of Passo Fundo/RS/Brazil, between 2009 and 2020. The patients were separated into ages between 15.00 and 23.99 years and, for each radiograph, the third molars were classified into stages from 1 to 10, with the subsequent application of one of the formulae proposed by Gunst et al. A dichotomous variable indicating whether each individual was younger or older than 18 was calculated from the chronological age of the individuals. A logistic regression model was adjusted to assess whether the third molar stages are correlated with the age of individuals.

Results: The error indicators between estimated and chronological ages showed that mean errors closer to zero are seen in the 18-18.9 and 17-17.9 age groups, respectively. Male individuals were earlier in terms of dental mineralization but there were no significant differences between sexes regarding the applicability of the method. The ROC curve shows that the analysis of a single third molar for age estimation gives a maximum of 70.4% reliability.

Conclusions: The moderate performance of the technique tested in the present study justify future country-specific corrections to improve age estimation from the radiographic assessment of third molar maturity. Key words:Dental age estimation, forensic dentistry, radiology, third molar.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e1182-e1188
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical and Experimental Dentistry
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • Dental age estimation
  • forensic dentistry
  • radiology
  • third molar


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