International Journal of Legal Medicine

, Volume 133, Issue 2, pp 625–632 | Cite as

Contribution of third molar eruption to the estimation of the forensic age of living individuals

  • Arsène GambierEmail author
  • Camille Rérolle
  • Maxime Faisant
  • Julia Lemarchand
  • Arnaud Paré
  • Pauline Saint-Martin
Population Data


Forensic age estimation of a living individual is frequently performed in clinical forensic medicine. Medicolegal physicians are usually called upon by the authorities to estimate the age of a living person requesting asylum or to determine whether a suspected offender is subject to juvenile or adult criminal law. Dental age is one of the parameters studied to estimate biological age. Several methods are used, and among these, analysis of the eruption of the third molar (M3) on an orthopantomogram (OPG) is one of the common methods. The objective of the study was to analyse the contribution of M3 eruption to age estimation, in particular with regard to the threshold of 18 years of age, in a sample of individuals examined in a French university hospital. The stage of wisdom tooth eruption of all individuals aged between 15 and 24 years, who had an OPG performed between 1 January 2013 and 31 December 2015, was interpreted using a three-stage scoring system. In total, 557 OPGs (340 males and 217 females) were included. None of the stage scores allowed a distinction between minors and majors, for either sex. Overall, 85% of females and 98% of males with four M3s in stage 3 (complete emergence in the occlusal plane) were majors.


Clinical forensic medicine Age estimation Dental age Third molar eruption 



The authors would like to thank the anonymous reviewer for their comments on this manuscript and particularly regarding the material and method part of this scientific paper.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving retrospective anonym data of human beings were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut Médico-LégalCHRU ToursTours cedex 9France
  2. 2.Service de Chirurgie Maxillo-Faciale et StomatologieCHRU ToursTours cedex 9France

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