The 84th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2015)

Now and then: Linking public health research to bioarchaeological methodology


Anthropology, Western University

March 26, 2015 , Gateway Ballroom 4 Add to calendar

Dental age estimation is central to most forensic and bioarchaeological studies of subadult human remains. A sound knowledge of the timing and sequence of dental development is also useful in the fields of dentistry and orthodontics, certain sociocultural studies, and legal or immigration investigations of living subadults with missing, or suspect, birth data (El-Nofely and Iscan 1989; Liversidge 2008; Maber et al. 2006). Through meta-analysis, it is apparent that the existing dental age estimation standards are the most accurate and specific aging standards based on macroscopic features of subadult human remains. However, some of the methods and reference samples used for the creation of these standards may have contributed to bias within the resulting age estimation standards.

This poster presents a new method for the creation of region-specific subadult dental age estimation standards. This method involves data collection from 1020 voluntary participants, within a month of their birthdates, through expanded World Health Organization (WHO) questionnaires, and free dental examinations and panoramic radiographs. Bayesian statistical equations reduce population distribution bias (Hoppa and Vaupel 2002) in this standard, increasing accuracy and specificity in age estimates for modern and ancient populations. The social benefits of this method include the production of a public oral health report and the contribution of data to the WHO’s global oral health database. This project demonstrates the ability to advance bioarchaeological methods through the use of qualitative and quantitative data, while simultaneously contributing to the improvement of quality of life in modern populations.