Comparisons between skeletal and dental age assessment in unaccompanied asylum seeking children


  • Journal: Journal of Forensic Odonto-Stomatology, vol. 35, p. 109–116, 2017
  • Internasjonale standardnumre:
    • Trykt: 0258-414X
    • Elektronisk: 2219-6749
  • Lenke:

For children with disputed date of birth, age assessments based on skeletal and dental development are recommended.

The aim of this retrospective study was to compare and contrast the results of age assessments from these two methods performed on unaccompanied asylum seeking children in Norway. In addition the aim of the analysis was to see if the skeletal age assessment from hand-wrist was operator sensitive.

Age assessments performed from January 2010 to December 2014 were analysed. Skeletal development of hand-wrist was graded according to Greulich and Pyle (1959). Dental development of the wisdom teeth was scored on orthopantomograms according to Moorrees, Fanning and Hunt (1963) and age assessed from tables published by Liversidge (2008) and Haavikko (1970). In the statistical analysis agreement between the two age assessments was defined according to the asylum seeker's age being assessed to be older or younger than 18 years. The statistical analysis included 3333 boys and 486 girls.

The agreement was 83% for boys and 79% for girls. Approximately 70% of the boys and girls were 18 years or older by both methods. It was more common that the skeletal age was assessed older than 18 years and dental age younger than 18 years for both genders. It could be demonstrated that the age assessment based on skeletal maturation was not operator sensitive.

The analyses demonstrate that there is good agreement between the two age assessments, but a method to combine the results would increase the reliability of the age assessments.