A comparison of the dental age estimation methods of Phillips and Proffit in a sample of South African children
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Introduction: Dental age is an indicator of the physiological maturity of growing children. Different methods for estimating the dental age in contrast to the chronological age have been proposed. Aims and objectives: The aim of this retrospective study was to compare the accuracy of the Phillips and the Proffit methods in estimating the dental age in a mixed sample of South African children. Methods: A random selection was completed of 100 panoramic radiographs of patients with known chronological ages, ranging between 6 and 11 years. Dental age for each radlograph was esdmated using both the Phillips and the Proffit methods. Results: The Phillips method underestimated the age of combined sample by four months (statistically significant p =0.03}, whilst the age of the boys sample was underestimated by six months (statistically significant p <0.0001). For the girls' sample, the Proffit method underestimated the age by only two days (not statistically significant p =0.97). Proffit's method underestimated the age of the boys by two months (not statistically significant (P= 0.15). Conclusion: Even though It has not previously been validated, Proffit's description of dental development has been shown to be accurate in estimating the dental age.