Forensic dentistry methods to estimate the chronological age of individuals: a topic review


  • Catalina Pilar Ugalde-Barahona Universidad Mayor de Santiago de Chile
  • José Manuel Olivares Universidad Mayor de Chile
  • Ernesto González-Mallea Universidad Mayor de Chile
  • Gustavo Moncada-Cortés Universidad Mayor de Chile
  • Osmir B. De Oliveira-Junior Universidade Estadual Paulista



Forensic dentistry, Determining age by teeth, Dental eruption, Forensic anthropology


Introduction: global mobilization has created new needs. From sporting events to criminal matters, determining the chronological age of individuals is being used by forensic surgeons worldwide. The objective of the present study was to analyze the forensic methods to estimate the age of individuals, including the advantages and limitations of these methods. Method: a search was conducted in the Sistema de Bibliotecas de la Universidad Mayor (SIBUM): Dentistry & Oral Sciences Source, ClinicalKey, and Science Direct Freedom Collection, selecting papers published from 1980 to 2014. A manual search was also conducted, including specific journals and texts in this field, with no limitation as to the year of publication. The inclusion criteria were research projects aimed at determining the chronological age of individuals through forensic analysis of oral tissues. All published texts in a language other than English were excluded. In total, 70 publications were analyzed. Technological advances have paved the way for the study of new parameters; however, the original ones identified by Gustafson in 1950 are still studied. Conclusions: most studied methods are invasive in some degree. In addition, none of these techniques is accurate in its own; therefore, the combination of different measurement techniques is recommended, opening a field of research on techniques that are less invasive and can be a complement to the existing ones. Finally, the available information lead to conclude that research on populations of African and Asian descent is lacking, which is a current challenge because of globalization, migration, and the heterogeneity of current populations.

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Author Biographies

Catalina Pilar Ugalde-Barahona, Universidad Mayor de Santiago de Chile

DDS. School of Sciences, Universidad Mayor de Chile, Santiago de Chile

José Manuel Olivares, Universidad Mayor de Chile

DDS, School of Sciences, Universidad Mayor de Chile, Santiago de Chile

Ernesto González-Mallea, Universidad Mayor de Chile

DDS, School of Sciences, Universidad Mayor de Chile, Santiago de Chile

Gustavo Moncada-Cortés, Universidad Mayor de Chile

DDS, PhD, School of Sciences, Universidad Mayor de Chile, Santiago de Chile

Osmir B. De Oliveira-Junior, Universidade Estadual Paulista

DDS, MSc, PhD, School of Dentistry, Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP), Araraquara, Brazil


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How to Cite

Ugalde-Barahona, C. P., Olivares, J. M., González-Mallea, E., Moncada-Cortés, G., & De Oliveira-Junior, O. B. (2017). Forensic dentistry methods to estimate the chronological age of individuals: a topic review. Revista Facultad De Odontología Universidad De Antioquia, 29(1), 173–186.

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