Volume 44, Issue 5 (September 1999)
Developing Permanent Tooth Length as an Estimate of Age
Developing teeth are widely used to predict age in archaeology and forensic science. Regression equations of tooth length for age is a direct method, however, data for permanent teeth is incomplete. The aims of this study were: (a) to calculate regression equations predicting age from tooth length of all permanent teeth from birth to maturity, and (b) to evaluate the difference between radiographic and actual tooth length. The sample studied (N=76, age range 0 to 19 years) was the Spitalfields juveniles of recorded age-at-death. Tooth length was measured from incisal tip to developing edge of crown or root of 354 dissected teeth. Data for upper and lower teeth were combined except for the lateral incisor. The least squares regression method was used to analyze the data for each tooth type; age being regressed against tooth length for prediction. For most tooth types, growth followed an S-shaped (polynomial) curve with initial fast growth and a further growth spurt around the time of mid root formation. No difference was found between radiographic and true tooth length. These regression equations provide an easy method of predicting age from any developing permanent tooth by measuring tooth length from isolated teeth or from unmagnified, undistorted radiographs.