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Original scientific paper

Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches for Dental Age Assessment in Sub Adult Portuguese Population: European Regression Formula and Demirjian Stages

Cristiana Palmela Pereira ; Faculty of Dental Medicine, University of Lisbon, Portugal
Carla Belo ; Student of Postgraduate Specialisation Course, Faculty of Dental Medicine, University of Lisbon, Portugal
Joana Sardinha ; Student of Postgraduate Specialisation Course, Faculty of Dental Medicine, University of Lisbon, Portugal
Rui Santos ; Department of Mathematics, School of Technology andManagement, Polytechnic of Leiria, Portugal
Francisco Salvado ; Centre of Statistics and Applications Faculty of Medicine of University of Lisbon, Portugal
Roberto Cameriere ; Age Estimation Project, FOR.MED.LAB, University of Macerata, Macerata, Italy

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Introduction: Over the last decade, the criminal justice system among the European countries deals with a new group of people, the undocumented people. In the criminal field, most of the suspected claimed to be under the minor legal age according to the type of crime. The government of each European country is committed to protecting the children and vulnerable people. There are serious safety concerns since adults falsely claim to be minors and legal systems oppose to such claims. In this study, we have used different age assessment methods and some of them without accuracy. Objective: To meet the general considerations we developed a study using the current dental age assessment methods. Hence, for the Portuguese population, this study aims to validate the European regression formula between the ages of 6 and 15 years of age; to estimate the cut-off point for the age of 12 years, and to compare the quantitative approach of European regression formula with Demirjian’s qualitative approach for age estimation. Materials and Methods: 483 orthopantomograms were analysed using the European formula and Demirjian scoring stages. A new method, Model 2, was designed to better suit the Portuguese population. Results: The European formula: average age underestimation of 4.88 for the third quadrant and 4.04 months for the fourth quadrant; and a mean absolute error (MAE) of 10.93 and 10.68 months respectively. Demirjian method: average overestimation of 8.70 months, MAE of 12.85 months. In Model 2: MAE of 9.37 months for the third quadrant, and 9.28 months for the fourth quadrant. Both European formula and Demirjian method had an area under ROC curves results above 0.93. Discrepancy of sensitivity between methods for the specific cut-off point: 11.48. The results obtained in this study can be extrapolated to 87.33% of the Portuguese population. Conclusions: The European regression formula can be applied for the Portuguese population, and seems to be more accurate than Demirjian’s methodology in this population. Nevertheless, both European regression formula and Demirjian method present similarly suitable results in the classification of 12 years of age, although there is a noticeable discrepancy favouring the European regression formula. The European Formula when applied for criminal age assessment, independently of population, is mandatory to indicate to the judicial institutions, the sensitivity of the results.


Age Determination by Teeth; Forensic Dentistry; Refugees; Law Enforcement; Regression Analysis; ROC Curve

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