Journal of Indian Academy of Oral Medicine and Radiology

: 2018  |  Volume : 30  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 275--280

Body height from tooth size: A novel study on stature estimation by odontometric parameters

Yesha Jani, Shilpa Parikh, Bhavin Dudhia, Parul Bhatia, Purv Patel, Roseline Patel 
 Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology, Ahmedabad Dental College and Hospital, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Yesha Jani
Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology, Ahmedabad Dental College and Hospital, Ahmedabad, Gujarat


Introduction: Stature is the height of a person in the upright posture. Based upon the principle that the various long bones correlate positively with stature, stature correlation to skull and jaw dimensions has been frequently reported among various populations. Objective: The study was conducted to investigate the possibility of predicting the height of an individual using selected odontometric parameters as a forensic tool. Materials and Methods: The study sample consisted of 100 randomly selected subjects. Measurements of maxillary intercanine width (IC), maxillary interpremolar width (IP), and mesiodistal width of six permanent maxillary anterior teeth (CW) were made directly on the subject by means of a digital vernier caliper. Height (H) of patients was measured with anthropometer. Results: Significant correlation was observed between height and maxillary IC width (P < 0.05), whereas correlation between height and the combined width of six anterior teeth as well as IP width was found to be nonsignificant. Conclusion: The maxillary IC width can be used successfully to calculate the stature of an individual from fragmentary remains.

How to cite this article:
Jani Y, Parikh S, Dudhia B, Bhatia P, Patel P, Patel R. Body height from tooth size: A novel study on stature estimation by odontometric parameters.J Indian Acad Oral Med Radiol 2018;30:275-280

How to cite this URL:
Jani Y, Parikh S, Dudhia B, Bhatia P, Patel P, Patel R. Body height from tooth size: A novel study on stature estimation by odontometric parameters. J Indian Acad Oral Med Radiol [serial online] 2018 [cited 2021 Nov 30 ];30:275-280
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United Nations Declaration of Human Rights states that every freeborn person has the right to be identified even after death.[1] Anthropometry comprises a series of systematized measuring techniques that expresses quantitatively the dimensions of the human body including skeletonized remains. It is a highly objective and reliable technique that can be used for the identification of individuals linked to a crime scene. Somatometry, cephalometry, craniometry, osteometry, and odontometry are the different tools used in anthropometry and these tools been proved to be valid in the identification of human remains. Anthropometric difference varies between races and is influenced by national social and economic conditions.[2]

Stature is considered to be one of the “big fours” of forensic anthropology.[3] Estimating stature, along with age, sex, and race, is one of the four pillars of the anthropological protocol and may be essential in preliminary screening and reconstructive identification of skeletal remains.[4] Stature is the height of a person in the upright posture.[5] Stature is shown to have a definite and proportional relationship with many parts of the human body such as the cranial and facial bones, long bones, trunk, and foot bones.[6] Human identification becomes difficult when the body is heavily mutilated or destroyed due to accidents (such as mass disaster, massive burn, and airplane crash) or during war. Highly decomposed and mutilated dead bodies with fragmentary remains are also difficult to identify.[7] Teeth are extremely durable even at high temperatures and may be identified even when the rest of the body has undergone decomposition. Thus, they are invaluable tool in forensic science. Amongst all the teeth in the human dentition, the canines are the least frequently extracted teeth (possibly because of the relatively decreased incidence of caries and periodontal disease). Also, canines are reported to withstand extreme conditions and have been recovered from human remains even after air disasters and hurricanes.[8],[9]

As stated by Fédération Dentaire Internationale, “Forensic Odontology” is the branch of dentistry which, in the interest of justice, deals with proper handling and examination of dental evidence and with the proper evaluation and presentation of dental findings.[10],[11] In genetics, anthropological, odontogenic, and forensic investigations, teeth form an excellent resource of clinical study material in living and nonliving populations. Teeth are used in person identification during medicolegal issues and also in personal identification in natural and human-made disaster situations and in mass casualties such as aviation disasters as teeth are resistant to such disasters.[12] Forensic dentistry is important for human identification, especially when conventional methods cannot be applied. In such cases, a postmortem record is created by a forensic dentist to identify the victim by determining the age, stature, ancestry, sex, and socioeconomic class.[13]

Dental morphometrics is a quantitative analysis to form a concept that encompasses size and shape of teeth. Estimation of physical profile from dental morphometrics has been a subject of great interest in forensic odontology. Various studies have been attempted in determination of physical height using permanent tooth morphometrics in the past. The parameters used were tooth length, crown length (CL), mesiodistal width, and tooth labiolingual width, and correlation with the facial measurements has been attempted in the past.[12]

Stature estimation from the dentition, however, has seldom been explored.[4] Khangura et al. concluded that out of four selected odontometric parameters used, the intercanine (IC) width and interpremolar (IP) width can be used successfully to calculate the stature of an individual. However, further studies are required to estimate the accuracy of estimating the stature of an individual using these regression equations for the selected odontometric parameters.[5] Prabhu et al. evaluated tooth crown dimensions such as buccolingual and mesiodistal dimensions of all teeth necessary for stature prediction. According to his correlation analysis, tooth crown variables had some statistically significant correlation to stature.[4]

On the contrary, Sterrett et al. attempted a correlation of the width, length, and width/length ratios of maxillary anterior sextant permanent dentition of Caucasians to the height of the individual. He could not find any statistically significant correlation between tooth dimensions and subject height.[14] Jayawardena et al. conducted a study in Sri Lankan Sinhalese individuals to find the association between tooth length and stature using permanent maxillary central and lateral incisors. There was no significant association between stature and incisor tooth lengths.[15]

Also, there is a paucity of literature which supports such studies conducted on the Gujarati population. Hence, this study was conducted to investigate the relationship of the height of a person with odontometric parameters like IC width and IP width of maxillary arch and individual and combined mesiodistal width of six permanent maxillary anterior teeth.

Aim and objectives

Considering studies pertaining to estimation of stature from odontometry in India and usefulness of these studies in forensic and legal medicine, the present study was designed to elucidate the anthropometric correlation of multiple odontometric parameters with stature and also to devise regression formulae for stature estimation:

To correlate stature (H) with IC width of maxillaTo correlate stature (H) with IP width of maxillaTo correlate stature (H) with combined width of maxillary anterior teeth (CW)To correlate stature (H) with summation of IC and IPTo correlate stature (H) with summation of IC and CWTo correlate stature (H) with summation of IP and CWTo correlate stature (H) with summation of IC, IP, and CWTo obtain a linear regression formula for stature estimation based on each correlating odontometric parameterTo check the reliability of the derived regression equation on the same population.

 Materials and Methods

This was a cross-sectional study which consisted of 100 subjects (50 males and 50 females) selected from the Out Patient Department of the institute. Ethical clearance was obtained from the institutional ethics committee for the study. The subjects were selected based on the following criteria.

Inclusion criteria

Age 18–30 yearsA complete set of fully erupted, periodontally healthy, non-carious, intact, satisfactorily aligned maxillary teeth.

Exclusion criteria

History or clinical evidence of cleft palate, crown restoration, orthodontic treatment, trauma, or oral destructive habitHistory or clinical features suggestive of endocrinal disorders, metabolic disorders, developmental disorders, or history of prolonged illness.

After obtaining informed consent from the subjects, maxillary IC width, maxillary IP width, mesiodistal crown width of the six permanent anterior maxillary teeth (CW), and stature (H) were measured and recorded. Parameters were recorded with the help of a digital vernier caliper accurate up to 0.01 mm (Insize Digital Caliper, China). The vernier caliper was disinfected with antiseptic solution (surfacept) after completion of each patient. The pointed tines allowed accessing the interproximal areas of teeth. The distance between the tines was read off from the display and recorded.

IC width was measured as the horizontal distance between the cusp tips of maxillary right canine to the cusp tip of left canine [Figure 1], whereas the IP width was measured as the horizontal distance between the buccal cusp tips of maxillary first premolar from right side to left side [Figure 2].{Figure 1}{Figure 2}

The maximum mesiodistal width of each tooth was measured at the level of anatomic contact points directly on the subject, with the instrument held parallel to the occlusal plane. The combined mesiodistal width of the maxillary anterior teeth (CW) in each case was obtained by summation of the individual mesiodistal widths of each maxillary permanent anterior tooth [Figure 3].{Figure 3}

The stature (H) of each subject was measured as the vertical distance from the vertex to the floor using a standard anthropometer. Measurements were taken by making the subject stand erect on a horizontal resting plane barefooted. Anthropometer was placed in straight vertical position behind the subject with the head oriented with ala tragus line parallel to floor and shoulder blocks and buttocks touching the vertical limb of the instrument. The movable rod of the anthropometer was brought in contact with the vertex in midsagittal plane [Figure 4].{Figure 4}

All the measurements were done by a single examiner to eliminate interobserver error. All the dimensions were measured three times for each tooth and the average was recorded in order to minimize the intra-observer error. Sample size was calculated based on following formula with expected correlation coefficient of 0.4. Total sample size = N = [(Zα+ Zβ)/C] 2 + 3 = 47, whereas the standard normal deviate for α = Zα= 1.960, the standard normal deviate for β = Zβ= 0.842 and C = 0.5 × In[(1 + r)/(1 − r)] = 0.424. Calculated sample size was 47, which was rounded to 50 per group.

All the recorded measurements were calibrated in millimeters (mm) up to 0.01 mm accuracy. Statistical comparisons were made between the recorded odontometric measurements with respect to males and females. The data collected were subjected to statistical methods for correlation by applying the Pearson correlation test and the linear regression formula was obtained for each parameter separately. The SPSS software package version 22.0 (IBM, Newyork, USA) was used for statistical analysis. The linear regression equation was derived as y = mx + c, where y-axis is the height recorded corresponding to the odontometric measurements on the x-axis. To check the reliability of the regression equation, it was applied on 10% of data for significant parameters such as IC width and the actual height of individual was blind-folded.


[Table 1] shows minimum and maximum values with mean and standard deviation of each odontometric parameter in millimeters. Maximum IC width recorded was 40.81 mm; minimum IC width recorded was 30.4 mm with mean (SD) being 35.28 ± 2.22 mm. Maximum IP width recorded was 47.58 mm; minimum IP width recorded was 36.5 mm with mean (SD) being 42.46 ± 2.51 mm. Maximum common width recorded was 63.78 mm; minimum common width recorded was 38.41 mm with mean (SD) being 45.64 ± 5.47 mm. Maximum IC + IP recorded was 88.06 mm; minimum IC + IP recorded was 66.9 mm with mean (SD) being 77.75 ± 4.39 mm. Maximum IC + CW recorded was 101.34 mm; minimum IC + CW recorded was 71.41 mm with mean (SD) being 80.93 ± 6.81 mm. Maximum IP + CW recorded was 107.92 mm; minimum IP + CW recorded was 77.51 mm with mean (SD) being 88.11 ± 6.84 mm. Maximum IC + IP + CW recorded was 145.14 mm; minimum IC + IP + CW recorded was 107.91 mm with mean (SD) being 123.39 ± 8.44 mm. Maximum height recorded was 1883 mm; minimum height recorded was 1445 mm with mean (SD) being 1645.53 ± 90.76 mm.{Table 1}

[Table 2] shows correlation coefficient between height and odontometric parameters. Correlation coefficient for IC is 0.223 with P- value being 0.025 which is ≤0.05 suggestive of being statistically significant. Other correlation coefficients for IC, IP, CW, IC + IP, IC + CW, IP + CW, and IC + IP + CW are, respectively, 0.117, 0.124, 0.180, 0.171, 0.142, and 0.13 with P- values being greater than 0.05 suggestive of being nonsignificant.{Table 2}

[Table 3] shows value of constant (c) and regression coefficient (m) for each parameters and regression formula. Formula for IC derived from the study is 1323.54 + 9.124x. The formulae derived for all other parameters are mentioned in the table; but they are statistically nonsignificant.{Table 3}


Identification of skeletal remains or mutilated bodies is of the utmost importance in medicolegal practice. In addition to sex, age, and ancestry, stature is a biological parameter that characterizes individuals and is required to establish a biological profile. Estimation of these parameters accelerates the analysis of human remains by narrowing the pool of victims to match and provides more definitive markers for final confirmation.[16] In identification of unknown human remains, stature estimation is a preliminary investigation. Various methods are used to establish the identity of unknown human remains. A drawback to these techniques is a limited applicability to fragmentary remains.[13]

Two methods (anatomical and mathematical) are generally used to estimate stature, depending on the completeness and condition of remains. The anatomical method sums the superior–inferior measurements of skeletal remains to estimate stature, while the mathematical method involves extrapolation of living stature from one or multiple bones/parts.[17] Among the mathematical methods used to estimate stature, such as regression and multiplication factors, regression analysis is considered the best and most reliable method.[18] The correlation between stature and tooth dimension is controversial.[7] The tendency of tooth crown dimensions to have a moderate correlation to stature particularly when compared to long bones may be attributed to their differences in the time of growth completion. Although teeth and the long bones are mesenchymal in origin, the differences in their timing of growth completion probably render tooth crown dimensions with only moderate correlation to stature.[4] Stature correlation to skull and jaw dimensions is frequently reported among various populations. One of the initial studies in this context was undertaken by Indian researchers. The literature, however, is lacking in that the derivation of the height from an odontometric parameter has not been explored adequately. The studies correlating tooth dimensions with height as ratios or regression equations are sporadic.[19]

Khangura et al. concluded that out of four selected odontometric parameters used, the IC width and IP width can be used successfully to calculate the stature of an individual. However, further studies are required to estimate the accuracy of estimating the stature of an individual using these regression equations for the selected odontometric parameters.[5]

In this study, odontometric parameters were considered singly and in various sets of combinations. When each odontometric parameter was correlated singly with the height of an individual, only IC width was found to be statistically significant. The regression equation thus obtained could be used for stature estimation.

Hossain et al. suggested that there are some degrees of positive correlations between stature and tooth crown dimensions like crown height, mesiodistal width, and buccolingual width. However, using this relationship as a tool may not give accurate estimation of stature in forensic situations. In the present study, the combined widths of all maxillary anterior teeth do not show significant correlation with a person's height. The tooth crown dimensions may be used as a supplementary method for estimating stature of unknown human bodies in forensic identification together with other reliable body remains (like long bones).[7] Combined width of six maxillary anterior teeth has been used for estimation of stature by Kalia et al. in 2008 with only small statistically significant correlation.[13]

Yadav et al. concluded that regression equations generated from odontometric parameters can be used as a supplementary approach for the estimation of stature when extremities are not available but with caution as these are population specific and cannot be used on other populations of the world. However, canine width can aid in estimation of stature as an adjunct when only teeth are available for identification; further investigations should be carried out on large sample by considering ethnic and community background.[6]

On using derived regression equation on 10% of our data for significant parameters such as IC width, when the actual height of individual was blind folded, no statistically significant difference was observed between the actual height and predicted height of an individual using regression formula at 1% level of significance indicating that IC width can be used successfully for predicting the height of an individual.

Our results hypothesize that odontometry is reliable for stature estimation as an adjuvant but in situations when only teeth are available for identification, the maxillary IC width can be used in the calculation of stature for Gujarati population irrespective of gender. However, there are few limitations of the present study like only anterior teeth have been included in the study.


Teeth are one of the common human remains, hence provide vital clues to human identification in forensic investigations. Hence, teeth and related odontometric features serve as an important marker to narrow the search of missing persons by the forensic experts. However, the literature reveals that the common odontometric parameters have not been evaluated as forensic tools in stature estimation. Out of maxillary IC distance, maxillary IP distance, and common width of maxillary anterior teeth, the maxillary IC distance can be used successfully to calculate the stature of an individual. Henceforth, maxillary IC distance can be used for calculating stature of an individual. However, further studies with larger sample size and involving multiple ethnic groups are required to estimate the accuracy of this parameter in estimating the stature.

Declaration of patient consent

The authors certify that they have obtained all appropriate patient consent forms. In the form the patient(s) has/have given his/her/their consent for his/her/their images and other clinical information to be reported in the journal. The patients understand that their names and initials will not be published and due efforts will be made to conceal their identity, but anonymity cannot be guaranteed.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.


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