Dental age estimation (AE) tests are routinely done on living and deceased persons.
There is anecdotal evidence suggesting an increase in age estimations due to the refugee crisis.
Our aim is to determine the reasons and methods for performing dental AE tests in both living and
deceased individuals. Global trends in AE over the past 10 years were also investigated. A database
of all forensic laboratories was obtained and an electronic questionnaire was sent to all of them.
The questionnaire was self-developed and included questions on the reasons for performing AE tests,
the preferred methods used in living and deceased individuals, and the people/organizations who
requested these AE tests. The number of tests performed annually varied between 0 and 500 and
the majority were on asylum seekers, refugees, and for adoption cases. Most units used multiple
techniques to determine the age among the living, but seldom used more than three techniques for
the deceased. The majority of tests were requested by coroners and the legal fraternity. There has
been an increase in the number of dental AEs carried out and this has been mostly due to asylum
seekers and refugees. The most common techniques for the living were variations of Demirjian’s
technique while country specific techniques were used for the deceased.