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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 393-396  

Role of Orthopantamograph in Forensic Identification: A Retrospective Study Among Chennai Population

Department of Oral Pathology and Microbiology, Sathyabama Dental College and Hospital, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Web Publication28-May-2019

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Balasubramaniam Arunachala Murali
Department of Oral Pathology and Microbiology, Sathyabama Dental College and Hospital, Chennai 600119, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/JPBS.JPBS_43_19

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Context: Identification of unknown corpse can be established by their body features and belongings; when the features are distorted, it becomes a challenge for the forensic experts. Orthopantamograph (OPG) analysis is a simple, noninvasive, economic, and reliable method to sort for identification of the unidentified. Aim and Objective: The aim of this study was to assess the efficacy of OPG in age and sex determination. The objective of our study was to evaluate various measurements on the mandibular ramus and to correlate them with the age and sex of an individual. Settings and Design: A retrospective study was conducted using 150 OPGs that were taken in the Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology using Orthophos XG3 OPG machine. The mandibular ramus measurements were carried out using WebPlot Digitizer v 4.1. The measurement was statistically assessed. Statistical Analysis Used: SPSS version 20 was used for discriminate analysis, correlation, and regression analysis. Results: The male population showed higher values of ramus measurements compared to the female population. A regression equation was positively drawn to estimate the age of the unknown individual. Conclusions: Coronoid height is the main predictive factor in age estimation of an individual irrespective of the gender whereas gonial angle is the extrapolative tool in gender prediction.

Keywords: Condyle, coronoid, forensic, gonial angle, height orthopantomogram, mandible, ramus

How to cite this article:
Rajkumari S, Nikitha K, Monisha S, Nishagrade S, Thayumanavan B, Murali BA. Role of Orthopantamograph in Forensic Identification: A Retrospective Study Among Chennai Population. J Pharm Bioall Sci 2019;11, Suppl S2:393-6

How to cite this URL:
Rajkumari S, Nikitha K, Monisha S, Nishagrade S, Thayumanavan B, Murali BA. Role of Orthopantamograph in Forensic Identification: A Retrospective Study Among Chennai Population. J Pharm Bioall Sci [serial online] 2019 [cited 2021 Apr 21];11, Suppl S2:393-6. Available from:

   Introduction Top

Identification and recognition of an individual is very critical when the bodies are damaged beyond recognition.[1] However, age and gender are the prime sought in the identification process; skeletal components plays a vital role in the course. Among the skeletal tissue, skull along with mandible infers a reliable clue.

As the environmental factor influences the characteristics of skeletal system morphology, there exists enormous anatomical difference as per the topography variation. This study focuses on age and gender variation in mandibular ramus and gonial angle using an orthopantamograph (OPG) among Chennai population.

   Materials and Methods Top

The study was conducted after obtaining approval from institutional human ethical committee at Sathyabama Dental College and Hospital (IHEC/study no 050). The OPGs taken in the Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology for various diagnostic purposes with complete natural dentition were included in the study, whereas distorted OPGs, OPG with pathology, jaw discrepancies, those with jaw discrepancies, or malocclusion (Class II/Class III) were excluded from the study. Orthophos XG 3 OPG machine was used to make the X-rays.

The study comprised 1000 OPGs out of which only 150 OPGs were subjected to metric assessment considering the inclusion and exclusion criteria. The participants were between the age range of 3–70 years and they were classified into seven categories—group 1: 0–10 years, group 2: 11–20 years, group 3: 21–30 years, group 4: 31–40 years, group 5: 41–50 years, group 6: 51–60 years, and group 7: 61–70 years.

The OPGs were assessed, both left (L) and right (R) mandibular ramus as well as the gonial angle measurements were made. The measurements including maximum ramus width (MaxRW), minimum ramus width (MinRW), condylar height (ConH), coronoid height (CorH), projective ramus height (PH), and gonial angle (A) were recorded bilaterally.[1] All the measurements were recorded in centimeters using WebPlot Digitizer v 4.1 software by mouse-driven method. The obtained values were statistically analyzed with SPSS version 20.

   Results Top

When the measured parameters were statistically evaluated (t test) for gender differences [Table 1], MaxRW (R/L), ConH (R/L), CorH (R/L), CorH (R/L), PH (R/L), and gonial angle (R/L) showed highly significant differences statistically between the genders P < 0.01, whereas MinRW (L) and ConH (L) showed less significance (P < 0.05), and the MinRW (R) did not show any significant difference.
Table 1: Statistical test for significance between the genders (t test)

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All the mandibular metric values were statistically significant (P < 0.01) between the age groups [Table 2] (analysis of variance), which ranged between 5 and 70 years except for the gonial angle (P < 0.05).
Table 2: Statistical test for significance (analysis of variance) between each age group for various parameters

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Pearson correlational analysis [Table 3] revealed that there exists definite correlation between the various age groups and mandibular linear measurements but not with the gonial angle.
Table 3: Pearson correlational analysis of the mandibular measurements with age

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Multiple linear regression analysis shows the CorH (R/L), MaxRW (R), and gonial angle (R) are significant parameters contributing to the prediction of age of an individual and the equation for age estimation is AGE = −190.68 + 1.065 [MaxRW (R)] − 0.605 [CorH (R)] + 1.766 [CorH (L)] + 0.925 [A (R)] + µ

   Discussion Top

Most often, dentists are sought by the forensic experts in case of mass fatalities and situations where ambiguity over personal identification arises mainly related to the age and gender discrimination. Though there exist variety of methods to for the same, OPG can be applied when the external features are distorted.

Various studies had been conducted by many researchers to understand the applicability of mandibular metric analysis specifically the vertical, horizontal, and angular measurements[2],[3],[4],[5],[6] in forensic odontology.

Our study reveals that CorH, ConH, and projected height of the mandible increase with age, and at sixth decade, there is slight reduction in values, but the studies by Leversha et al.[1] and Poongodi et al.,[7] show a decrease in ramus height with increase in age. The gonial angle did not show significant difference with age, which is similar to the study by Taleb and Beshlawy[5] but the mean value increased in the early age as well as in the sixth decade; however, other studies report that there is significant difference with age.[2],[5],[7] Studies by Taleb and Beshlawy[5] and Sandeepa et al.[6] reveal that CorH shows fluctuation with aging, which is parallel to our study.

There is statistically significant difference in all the measurements of mandible between the genders except for the minimal ramus width and ConH, which had no significance/very less significance in gender prediction that contradicts few other studies where the minimal ramus breadth and ConH [7],[8],[9] had a greatest sexual dimorphism[3],[4],[10]; however, the prediction about MinRW coincides with the findings of Sandeepa et al.[6] Damera et al.,[8] states that the projected ramus height is considered as a relevant factor in gender discrimination which is similar to our study. The gonial angle had differences between the male and female, which contradicts the studies conducted by Leversha et al.,[1] Sandeepa et al.,[6] Al-Shamout et al.,[2],[11] but our conclusion is similar to other studies[5],[8],[9] where female had higher values of gonial angle than male; however, the study by Sandeepa et al.[6] reveals male had greater gonial angle. There was no difference between the right and left side gonial angle similar to other studies[2]

   Conclusion Top

The use of OPGs in dentistry is not only limited to disease diagnosis and treatment planning; the varied anatomical landmarks reach the interest of forensic odontologist and hence mandibular metric values are proved to be a definite variable in gender and age determination. All the studies confirm that males have a significantly higher values compared to females[2],[3],[4],[5],[6],[7],[8],[9],[10],[11] with a variation in the metric values among various age groups. However, the evaluation of mandible using OPG was assessed by many researchers for its forensic applications. Standard metric values for each population must be drawn and archived in future for convenience and instant reporting.


We thank Dr Pravda MDS, Head of the Department, Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology, Sathyabama Dental College and Hospital, Chennai, for her kind support in providing the OPG’s from the Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology..

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

   References Top

Leversha J, McKeough G, Myrteza A, Skjellrup-Wakefiled H, Welsh J, Sholapurkar A. Age and gender correlation of gonial angle, ramus height and bigonial width in dentate subjects in a dental school in far North Queensland. J Clin Exp Dent 2016;8:e49-54.  Back to cited text no. 1
Indira AP, Markande A, David MP. Mandibular ramus: An indicator for sex determination—A digital radiographic study. J Forensic Dent Sci 2012;4:58-62.  Back to cited text no. 2
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
Maloth KN, Kundoor VK, Vishnumolakala SL, Kesidi S, Lakshmi MV, Thakur M. Mandibular ramus: A predictor for sex determination—A digital radiographic study. J Indian Acad Oral Med Radiol 2017;29:242-6.  Back to cited text no. 3
  [Full text]  
Linganna CS, Hemanth Raj MN. Orthopantomograph: A possible predictor of age and gender. Int J Rec Trend Sci Technol 2015;14:470-3.  Back to cited text no. 4
Taleb NSA, Beshlawy ME. Mandibular ramus and gonial angle measurements as predictors of sex and age in an Egyptian population sample. A digital panoramic study. J Forensic Res 2015;6:308.  Back to cited text no. 5
Sandeepa NC, Ganem AA, Alqhtani WA, Mousa YM, Abdullah EK, Alkhayri AH. Mandibular indices for gender prediction: A retrospective study in Saudi population. J Dent Oral Health 2017;3:095.  Back to cited text no. 6
Poongodi V, Kanmani R, Anandi MS, Krithika CL, Kannan A, Raghuram PH. Prediction of age and gender using digital radiographic method: A retrospective study. J Pharm Bioallied Sci 2015;7:S504-8.  Back to cited text no. 7
Damera A, Mohanalakhsmi J, Yellarthi PK, Rezwana BM. Radiographic evaluation of mandibular ramus for gender estimation: Retrospective study. J Forensic Dent Sci 2016;8:74-8.  Back to cited text no. 8
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
Jambunath U, Govindraju P, Balaji P, Poornima C, Latha S, Former. Sex determination by using mandibular ramus and gonial angle—a preliminary comparative study. Int J Contem Med Res 2016;3:3278-80.  Back to cited text no. 9
Kumar BS, Deepthi BC. A digital radiographic study for gender prediction using mandibular indices. Int J Sci Res 2016;5:1490-3.  Back to cited text no. 10
Al-Shamout R, Ammoush M, Alrbata R, Habahbah AA. Age and gender differences in gonial angle, ramus height and bigonial width in dentate subjects. Pakistan Oral Dent J 2012;32: 81-7.  Back to cited text no. 11


  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3]


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