In a forensic investigation there are several forensic and criminology unknowns to be elucidated, such as, species, sex, age, identity, cause and date of death of the victim or perpetrator. Some biological phenomena have been used to collaborate in determining the forensic age of an individual. Many authors and researchers have proposed different ways to perform this estimate. The phenomenon of root dentine translucency (RDT) is associated with the increase of age of the individual and has proven to be useful in the estimation of this unknown. The objective of this study was to compare the accuracy in estimating forensic age in three age ranges, by measurement of RDT, using two different methodologies. The protocol consists of taking measurements of the length translucency of dental pieces in a Chilean population (n=94), by direct visual method conventionally used and an indirect digital method based on the capture of a computerized image. The age was estimated applying a table: Three age ranges are preset: 1st range (20-39 ages), 2nd range (40-59 ages) and 3rd range (60-79 ages). The digital method gave better results in the estimation of age in the 1st age range (93%), compared to the visual method that was more assertive in the 2nd and 3rd range (86% and 65%). There are significant differences p=0.001 between the methods for each age range. The difference between the total percentages of successes in the age estimate obtained with both methods are not statistically significant. In conclusion, for age determination in teeth with very little translucency the digital method is recommended, although we must consider that this method tends to underestimate age. In cases of higher RDT we recommend using the visual method; however this method tends to overestimate age. Regardless of the above conclusion, this work shows that both methods are equally effective.
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