© 2016 Elsevier Ltd and Faculty of Forensic and Legal MedicineBackground Many countries have recently experienced a rapid increase in the demand for forensic age estimates of unaccompanied minors. Hong Kong is a major tourist and business center where there has been an increase in the number of people intercepted with false travel documents. An accurate estimation of age is only possible when a dataset for age estimation that has been derived from the corresponding ethnic population. Thus, the aim of this study was to develop and validate a Reference Data Set (RDS) for dental age estimation for southern Chinese. Materials and methods A total of 2306 subjects were selected from the patient archives of a large dental hospital and the chronological age for each subject was recorded. This age was assigned to each specific stage of dental development for each tooth to create a RDS. To validate this RDS, a further 484 subjects were randomly chosen from the patient archives and their dental age was assessed based on the scores from the RDS. Dental age was estimated using meta-analysis command corresponding to random effects statistical model. Chronological age (CA) and Dental Age (DA) were compared using the paired t-test. Results The overall difference between the chronological and dental age (CA-DA) was 0.05 years (2.6 weeks) for males and 0.03 years (1.6 weeks) for females. The paired t-test indicated that there was no statistically significant difference between the chronological and dental age (p > 0.05). Conclusion The validated southern Chinese reference dataset based on dental maturation accurately estimated the chronological age.