Radiological Appearance of Molars: Do They Consistently Identify Babies of 33-36 Weeks Gestation?
Dr. Jacob Puliyel St Stephens Hospital, Tis Hazari, Delhi, India - 110054. E-mail: email@example.com
Background: Gestational age is calculated from the date of the last menstrual period (LMP) may not be accurate when the cycle is irregular. In a previous study on small sample of European babies, the appearance of the cusps of the deciduous molar teeth on radiographs was found to be useful for determining the gestational age. The accuracy of this method was not affected by intra-uterine malnutrition. We did this prospective study on a large sample of newborns in India to validate the findings.
Materials and Methods: Chest radiographs taken within the first 3 days of life â€“ when they included the mandible â€“ were studied against gestational age. Dates as per LMP, confirmed by either ultrasound examination during pregnancy or by Ballardâ€™s scoring after birth, were the standard against which tooth age was validated.
Results: The area under the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve for the 1st molar was 0.933 (95% CI: 0.900 to 0.966) and that for the 2nd molar was 0.952 (95% CI: 0.920 to 0.983). Accuracy was only marginally affected by intrauterine malnutrition.
Conclusion: Tooth age may be used to estimate gestational age. Like the findings of ophthalmic examination at birth, tooth age is only marginally affected by intrauterine malnutrition.