Dental maturation of the permanent mandibular teeth of South African children and the relation to chronological age
Phillips, Vincent Michael
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Age estimation of the skeletal remains of children can be accomplished by examination of the ossification centres and the fusion of the epiphyseal plates of long bones. Dental age estimation is done by examining the eruption of the deciduous and permanent teeth. Both these methods are inaccurate and are subject to the nutritional status of the individual. A more accurate method of age estimation is by the examination of radiographic images of the developmental stages of the tooth crown and root formation. Two methods of dental age estimation used are those of Moorrees, Fanning and Hunt (1963) (MFH) and that of Demirjian, Goldstein and Tanner (1973) (DGT). These methods were tested on a sample of 913 Tygerberg dental patients; a random mixture of Caucasoid and Khoisanoid children. The MFH method under-estimated the ages of the sample by an average of 0.91 years and the DGT method over-estimated the ages by an average of 0.89 years. Samples of Indian and Negroid children from Kwa-Zulu Natal were tested in a similar manner and the results showed similar under and over-estimation of the ages by these methods. The Negroid children were labelled the Zulu sample. Correction factors were derived for the MFH and DGT methods of dental age estimation when used on Tygerberg, Indian and Zulu children. These correction factors were tested on the samples and found to improve the accuracy of the age estimation methods of MFH and DGT significantly.A second sample group of Tygerberg, Indian and Zulu children were then tested firstly using the standard method of MFH and DGT and the using the correction factors. The results showed that the correction factors improved the age estimation on these samples except in the case of the DGT method on Zulu children. A sample of Xhosa speaking children were added to the two Zulu samples and made an Nguni sample. The Tygerberg samples were combined as were the Indian samples to form data bases for the construction of dental age related tables for Tygerberg, Indian and Nguni children. These tables show that there are distinct differences in the ages at which the teeth develop in the different sample groups and that dental age related tables are necessary for children of different population origins. Statistical analysis of the age related tables from this study (Phillips Tables) show these tables are more accurate in the age estimation of South African children.