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An Investigation Of Ultrasound Methods For The Assessment Of Sex And Age From Intact Human Teeth

Robin N M Feeney
Published 2018 · Medicine

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Determining sex and age in humanremains is necessary to achieve positive identificationof individuals in forensic settings, and to provide datarequired for demographic analyses in archaeologicalsamples. Due to their denser mineralization, teeth maybe better preserved than other skeletal elements, whichare often fragmentary and poorly preserved. This workis the first to investigate the use of ultrasound methodsto accurately, objectively, and non-destructively assesssex and estimate age of human skeletal remains fromintact teeth. An ultrasound imaging system usingpulse-echo technique and nominal frequency (3.5 MHz)longitudinal waves was developed for applicationon teeth. Mechanical and acoustic properties of teethwere examined to explore their relationship withthe interaction of ultrasound wave propagation.Experiments were conducted to determine differencesin wave propagation in teeth from individualsof different ages and sex, both permanent anddeciduous. Consistent differences in integral acousticresponse patterns in the different teeth were found.It is concluded that pulse-echo ultrasound is a viablenon-destructive technique to yield integral acousticcharacteristic properties of teeth, potentially usefulfor assessing sex and estimating age, and resolvingminimum numbers of individuals from commingledand scattered remains. Information developed fromthis study will be significant to future research insofaras it introduces a new potential method that is nondestructive,fast, and easy to administer in situ.
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