Automated dental aging for child victims of disasters
Keywords:DVI, dental aging, odontology
AbstractIn disasters, one of the major challenges is the identification of the dead. This is complicated in cases where young victims and, sometimes, young survivors are involved. Often, there are no dental treatment records that can be usefully employed and, hence, identification has to be relied heavily on ageing. Developing teeth are generally considered to be the most reliable indicators of maturation and, by extension, of chronological age at death. This is because teeth are more durable, their degree of development can be observed directly from the living or deceased individual, and tooth formation is relatively unaffected by disease, malnutrition, or endocrine disorders. Unfortunately, the calculation of dental maturation and its conversion to a useful indicator of chronological age is a time-consuming process, which can be frustrating in the face of an overwhelming demand after a disaster such as the Thai Tsunami or Hurricane Katrina. The authors report on the development of a novel, automated “point and click” graphical user interface that can be used to calculate the age of a known individual from a simple dental radiograph. The authors apply the method to three ethnic populations living in New Zealand: children of European, Maori, and Pacific Island descent.
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