Pulp cavity size is known to decrease with age and can therefore serve as an indicator for age estimation. Here, we evaluated whether reconstructed images of multidetector-row computed tomography (MDCT) acquired before forensic autopsy are useful for estimating age at death. Images of 136 mandibular first premolars obtained from bodies of known age at death were analyzed, and the volume of the regions corresponding to pulp cavity and that of the whole tooth were determined using a voxel counting function. The pulp cavity was clearly distinguishable from dental hard tissue on the reconstructed images when using a cutoff value of 1400 Hounsfield units. Regression analysis adjusted for sex showed that estimated age correlated significantly with the pulp cavity to tooth volume ratio (r = 0.76). MDCT is gaining more widespread use in forensic medicine, and analyzing dental images to obtain parameters for age prediction is a practical approach for postmortem identification.
- Dental pulp
- Forensic dentistry
- Forensic science
- Multidetector-row computed tomography
- Postmortem examination
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine