International Journal of Legal Medicine

, Volume 132, Issue 2, pp 617–622 | Cite as

Studies on the radiographic visibility of the periodontal ligament in lower third molars: can the Olze method be used in the Chinese population?

  • Yu-cheng Guo
  • Mu-jia Li
  • Andreas Olze
  • Sven Schmidt
  • Ronald Schulz
  • Hong Zhou
  • Heidi Pfeiffer
  • Teng Chen
  • Andreas Schmeling
Original Article


The purpose of the present research is to study the radiographic visibility of the periodontal ligament in third molars from a northern Chinese population to determine if this methodology could be used for the 18-year threshold. A total of 1300 conventional orthopantomograms from 650 males and 650 females of northern Chinese subjects aged between 15 and 40 years were analyzed. The radiographic visibility of the periodontal membrane of fully mineralized third molars was assessed using the stages described by Olze et al. (2010). Stage 0 first appeared at the age of 17.05 years in males and at the age of 18.76 years in females. Stage 1 was first detected at 18.52 years in males and 19.59 years in females. Stage 2 was first achieved by males at the age of 22.33 years and by females at the age of 21.37 years. The earliest appearance of stage 3 was 26.85 years in males and 24.92 years in females. If stage 1 is determined, it is possible to prove that an individual has already attained the age of 18 years. Stages 2 and 3 can be used to determine that a person is over 21 years of age. However, it should also be noted that in 271 cases of tooth 38 and 255 cases of tooth 48, the visibility stage could not be reliably assessed because of fused roots or narrowed furcations. Therefore, this method seems to be of limited value for age estimation in the Chinese population.


Third molar Periodontal ligament Age estimation Chinese population 



This work was supported by the China Scholarship Council.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yu-cheng Guo
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Mu-jia Li
    • 1
  • Andreas Olze
    • 4
  • Sven Schmidt
    • 3
  • Ronald Schulz
    • 3
  • Hong Zhou
    • 1
    • 2
  • Heidi Pfeiffer
    • 3
  • Teng Chen
    • 5
  • Andreas Schmeling
    • 3
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Shaanxi Province for Craniofacial Precision Medicine Research, College of StomatologyXi’an Jiaotong UniversityXi’anPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Department of OrthodonticsStomatological Hospital of Xi’an Jiaotong UniversityXi’anPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Institute of Legal MedicineUniversity Hospital MünsterMünsterGermany
  4. 4.Institute of Legal MedicineCharité—UniversitätsmedizinBerlinGermany
  5. 5.College of Medicine and ForensicsXi’an Jiaotong University Health Science CenterXi’anPeople’s Republic of China

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