The 82nd Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2013)

Adult Individual Age, reliability of estimation using cementochronology



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Dental cementum, a mineralized tissue capturing in its successive incremental layers the fibers linking the tooth to the alveolar bone, seems to be considered a reliable age indicator. The protocol to estimate age-at-death includes several steps well described by numerous authors and tested with success in the majority of the published cases.

There are, however, a certain number of instances and under different geographic latitudes, where important discrepencies have been observed between observed and chronological age.

In order to understand these variations, this study looks at three crucial points: 1) the interactive system between cells from the Hertwig sheath and the fibroblastic cells under control of various factors developed during odontogenesis; 2) the adaptation of adult biochronology not native to the place where tooth samples have been taken; 3) various parodontal pathologies and their influence on cementum apposition.

A concordance between estimated age using cementochronology and civil age has been observed with a small (7%) error rate for a continental French population. A greater error rate of about 20% is notable for northern latitude samples.

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