The age estimation method as described by Demirjian is the most frequently used tool to estimate the sub-adult dental age in forensic dentistry. This technique has been shown to over or under estimate the chronological age of sub-adults when applied to specific population groups. The aim of this study was to compare a black South African population sample with the original French-Canadian model to determine if Demirjian’s method accurately reflects the true chronological age of this population group. A sample of panoramic radiographs from 279 boys and 325 girls between the ages of 6 and 16 was obtained from the School of Dentistry University of Pretoria, and from orthodontists in private practice in the Pretoria region. The panoramic radiographs were used to score the seven left mandibular teeth. The calculated maturity score was used to determine the Demirjian dental age. All panoramic radiographs were scored by one examiner. A subset of 20 panoramic radiographs was scored by a second examiner and reliability tested using a Wilcoxon Matched Pairs Test. This research showed that black South African children have a more advanced dental age compared to French-Canadian children. Demirjian overestimated the age for boys by 0.8 years and for girls by 0.5 years. The dental age assessment provided by Demirjian is not suitable for black South African children. As a result, new standards of dental age assessment should be established for this population. Copyright
Dissertation (MSc(Odont))--University of Pretoria, 2012.