Dental agehas been used for centuries as a parameter for expressing biological maturity.
It is of particular interest to the pedodontists and orthodontists in planning of different types of malocclusions in relation to maxillo-facial growth.
Dental age also plays a great role in forensic odontology and pediatric endocrinopathies.
Dental age is estimated by comparing the dental development status in a person of unknown age with published dental developmental surveys.
The dental age of an individual as defined from the radio graphically observable tooth mineralization stages, is a good index and can serve as one index of biological age, having certain advantages over many other such indices.
Tooth formation can be defined throughout the growth period from birth to adolescence, and tooth formation is less responsive to both nutritional modification and hormonal disturbances than many other developing tissues in the body.
Krogman believed that tooth formation age and the menarch arc best suited for the determination of the biological developmental stage of the individual, as the display the least variation.
Estimation of dental age
Different methods for the assessment of dental age have been introduced.
Number of teeth erupted in the oral cavity or the last tooth erupted. This method is rather rough, however, as individual variations in eruption age are extensive and endogenic and local factors may affect tooth eruption.
Tooth formation stage of every tooth or of only 4-5 selected teeth may be recorded from a radio-graph, preferably orthopantamograph and corresponding age for each child.
The tooth formation dental age of the child is then obtained by calculating the mean of the age estimates for the defined tooth formation stage.
The four teeth recommended for this purpose:
a) from birth to 9 years: teeth 46, 44, 43, 11
b) from 10 years onwards: teeth 47, 44, 43, 13
A tooth cannot be used, however, once it reaches full maturity (the apex closed stage) as it no longer gives any developmental information.
Choice of the teeth from the left side or right side does not make any difference to dental age.