Although believed to be reliable in children, dental age estimations have reportedly shown variations in their accuracy levels, indicating regional differences. The present paper aims to study the error threshold of the Nolla, Demirjian and Willems methods for age estimation of North Indian children.
Digital orthopantomograms of 168 children aged 3-15 years were analyzed for the three methods. Demirjian dental age was found to be closest to the mean chronological age, as indicated by the p-value of paired t-test. The error range for the Willems and Demirijian methods was ±5 years with 87.5% of cases showing error within the range of ±2 years, and it was ±6 years with 84.5% of cases showing error within ±2 years using the Nolla method. The mean absolute error for the Nolla, Demirjian and Willems methods was 1.09, 1.10 and 0.97 years, respectively.
The Willems method was better suited for dental age estimation of the studied population, though none of the methods precisely estimated the age of the participants. Wide variations in age estimates of varied population groups may be due to differences in statistical methods or genetic factors. Thus, comparison of the methods for different populations by the same researcher is suggested to reduce certain biasness (statistical methodology) in the study.
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