Cone-Beam Computed Tomography: a useful tool for dental age estimation?


Dr. Ove A. Peters: 0000-0001-5222-8718



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Medical Hypotheses









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Assessment of oral hard tissues can be of great help in determining the age of an individual. The development and physiological aging of teeth provide many clues for estimating age, in methods that are mainly based on conventional radiography. Although these conventional techniques reveal information on the anatomical and pathological characteristics, they only show two-dimensional images of a system that originally exists in three dimensions. With the growth and development of three-dimensional imaging, it has become possible to include measurements such as volumetric data, which give a better grasp of the continuous process of tooth mineralization. Up to now, these measurements have been obtained in vitro using micro-computed tomography (micro-CT) but three-dimensional imaging has recently been enriched by a new technique: Cone-Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT), which is devoted to the maxillo-facial sphere. These acquisitions may offer real potential for exploiting and analyzing volumetric measurements of teeth. We hypothesize that, using CBCT acquisitions, multiple regression analysis including quantitative volumetric measurement of various parts of each tooth can be useful to determine significant variables for dental age estimation in living subjects. Currently, CBCT examinations are being performed and contain important information for the quantitative study of dental tissue. Although CBCT examinations are conducted in the first intention of making a clinical diagnosis or prognostic evaluation, they could be used as an initial database for the measurement of dental volumes and their ratios, thus furnishing preliminary evaluations and information. Multiple regression analysis requires the constitution of a larger sample sizes which may demonstrate that CBCT data can be helpful to study other aspects of dental morphology in greater depth, especially dental growth. In this hypothesis, integration with a larger network system would be necessary. CBCT data could be helpful in defining new parameters for the rating of dental development, for a quantitative description of the fractions of crown and root and could offer new research oriented towards various aspects of teeth and jaws, thanks to its broad sampling possibilities.