Several approaches have been developed to estimate age, an important aspect of forensics and orthodontics, using different measures and radiological examinations. Here, through meta-analysis, we determined the validity of age estimation methods and reproducibility of bone/dental maturity indices used for age estimation. The PubMed and Google Scholar databases were searched to December 31, 2021 for human cross-sectional studies meeting pre-defined PICOS criteria that simultaneously assessed the reproducibility and validity. Meta-estimates of validity (mean error: estimated age-chronological age) and intra- and inter-observer reproducibility (Cohen's kappa, intraclass correlation coefficient) and their predictive intervals (PI) were calculated using mixed-effect models when heterogeneity was high (I2 > 50%). The literature search identified 433 studies, and 23 met the inclusion criteria. The mean error meta-estimate (mixed effects model) was 0.08 years (95% CI - 0.12; 0.29) in males and 0.09 (95% CI - 0.12; 0.30) in females. The PI of each method spanned zero; of nine reported estimation methods, Cameriere's had the smallest (- 0.82; 0.47) and Haavikko's the largest (- 7.24; 4.57) PI. The reproducibility meta-estimate (fixed effects model) was 0.98 (95% CI 0.97; 1.00) for intra- and 0.99 (95% CI 0.98; 1.00) for inter-observer agreement. All methods were valid but with different levels of precision. The intra- and inter-observer reproducibility was high and homogeneous across studies.
Validity of age estimation methods and reproducibility of bone/dental maturity indices for chronological age estimation: a systematic review and meta-analysis of validation studies / Marconi, V; Iommi, M; Monachesi, C; Faragalli, A; Skrami, E; Gesuita, R; Ferrante, L; Carle, F. - In: SCIENTIFIC REPORTS. - ISSN 2045-2322. - 12:1(2022). [10.1038/s41598-022-19944-5]