Volume 37, Issue 4 (July 1992)
Estimation of Age from a Tooth by Means of Racemization of an Amino Acid, Especially Aspartic Acid—Comparison of Enamel and Dentin
In a study of age estimation from teeth by means of measuring racemization of aspartic acid (Asp), a representative amino acid, the accuracy of data from enamel and dentin in the same tooth was compared.
The correlation of D/L ratio of aspartic acid with actual age gave the following parameters: r = 0.928, σ = ±5.2, k = 4.47 × 10−4 yr−1 in enamel and r = 0.995, σ = ±1.4, k = 5.75 × 10−4 yr−1. The difference in ages between one estimated by the D/L ratio and the actual one was within ±3 years in dentin, while in enamel an error of from 2 to 11 years was observed. Reaction rate constants of the racemization in a dry postmortem state (15°C) were calculated as k = 9.70 × 10−8 yr−1 in enamel, and k = 1.33 × 10−7 yr−1 in dentin. Compared to rates determined from teeth recently extracted from living subjects, the rate was higher in dentin than in enamel. These data reconfirmed that dentin is superior to enamel in making exact age estimations from teeth.