So one can argue that this is a very small, very specific population studied in this paper. Thankfully, the number of cases of children undergoing cancer therapies such as this is small, and therefore the need to age them for forensic purposes is likely to be incredibly rare.
However, the main piece around this research, published in the Journal of Forensic Science, is that it shows that there are a range of physiological factors that can effect dental maturity – in this case cancer treatments and also BMI. It is therefore likely that physical development and dental development are linked in such populations. What is unclear from this research is if the children, post treatment, caught up with their dental development?
The current oncology treatment has improved the survival of children with several types of cancer, and the effect of radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy treatment on dental maturation in comparison with chronological age is not widely known. The aim of this work was to evaluate and compare the impact of radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy treatment during dental maturation with chronological age in Chilean children diagnosed with cancer. Study Design was cross-sectional study on children diagnosed with different types of cancer and treated with radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy when they were ages of 0.1 to 13 years. Demirjian tables for both girls and boys are used to determine the dental age. The association between chronological and dental age was highly significant. Nevertheless, a linear relation between chronological and dental age was not observed when the data were stratified by BMI and type of treatment. This study confirmed that dental age is an indicator of chronological age but that other variables, such as body mass index, in children with cancer could be confounder variables. Thus, further studies are necessary to investigate the influence of BMI on tooth eruption/maturation in children under oncological treatment.
© 2015 American Academy of Forensic Sciences.