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Concept: Teeth


The restoration of dentine lost in deep caries lesions in teeth is a routine and common treatment that involves the use of inorganic cements based on calcium or silicon-based mineral aggregates. Such cements remain in the tooth and fail to degrade and thus normal mineral volume is never completely restored. Here we describe a novel, biological approach to dentine restoration that stimulates the natural formation of reparative dentine via the mobilisation of resident stem cells in the tooth pulp. Biodegradable, clinically-approved collagen sponges are used to deliver low doses of small molecule glycogen synthase kinase (GSK-3) antagonists that promote the natural processes of reparative dentine formation to completely restore dentine. Since the carrier sponge is degraded over time, dentine replaces the degraded sponge leading to a complete, effective natural repair. This simple, rapid natural tooth repair process could thus potentially provide a new approach to clinical tooth restoration.

Concepts: Enzyme, Animal, Teeth, Tooth, Dental caries, Portland cement, GSK-3, GSK3B


Evidence of prehistoric dentistry has been limited to a few cases, the most ancient dating back to the Neolithic. Here we report a 6500-year-old human mandible from Slovenia whose left canine crown bears the traces of a filling with beeswax. The use of different analytical techniques, including synchrotron radiation computed micro-tomography (micro-CT), Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) radiocarbon dating, Infrared (IR) Spectroscopy and Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), has shown that the exposed area of dentine resulting from occlusal wear and the upper part of a vertical crack affecting enamel and dentin tissues were filled with beeswax shortly before or after the individual’s death. If the filling was done when the person was still alive, the intervention was likely aimed to relieve tooth sensitivity derived from either exposed dentine and/or the pain resulting from chewing on a cracked tooth: this would provide the earliest known direct evidence of therapeutic-palliative dental filling.

Concepts: Electron, Spectroscopy, Mass spectrometry, Teeth, Dental caries, Scanning electron microscope, Tooth enamel, Dentin


In 1966, the National Institute of Dental Research (NIDR) began planning a targeted research program to identify interventions for widespread application to eradicate dental caries (tooth decay) within a decade. In 1971, the NIDR launched the National Caries Program (NCP). The objective of this paper is to explore the sugar industry’s interaction with the NIDR to alter the research priorities of the NIDR NCP.

Concepts: Lactic acid, Teeth, Dental caries, Tooth enamel, Sucrose, Oral hygiene, Dental restoration, Dental drill


Human dental enamel, the hardest tissue in the body, plays a vital role in protecting teeth from wear as a result of daily grinding and chewing as well as from chemical attack. It is well established that the mechanical strength and fatigue resistance of dental enamel are derived from its hierarchical structure, which consists of periodically arranged bundles of hydroxyapatite (HAP) nanowires. However, we do not yet have a full understanding of the in vivo HAP crystallization process that leads to this structure. Mg(2+) ions, which are present in many biological systems, regulate HAP crystallization by stabilizing its precursor, amorphous calcium phosphate (ACP), but their atomic-scale distribution within HAP is unknown. We use atom probe tomography to provide the first direct observations of an intergranular Mg-rich ACP phase between the HAP nanowires in mature human dental enamel. We also observe Mg-rich elongated precipitates and pockets of organic material among the HAP nanowires. These observations support the postclassical theory of amelogenesis (that is, enamel formation) and suggest that decay occurs via dissolution of the intergranular phase. This information is also useful for the development of more accurate models to describe the mechanical behavior of teeth.

Concepts: Hierarchy, Solubility, Philosophy of science, Teeth, Crystallization, Tooth enamel, Nucleation, Remineralisation of teeth


The aim of the study was to test the hypothesis that the gene defect causing congenital absence of maxillary lateral incisors also causes narrowing of the dentition. A total of 81 patients with one or two congenitally missing lateral incisors were retrieved; 52 (64.2 per cent) patients presented bilateral agenesis, whereas 29 (35.8 per cent) had unilateral agenesis. The control group consisted of 90 consecutively treated patients. The largest mesiodistal crown dimension for all teeth, except for the maxillary second and third molars, was measured on plaster casts using a digital caliper to the nearest 10th of a millimetre. Statistical testing was performed using the analysis of variance model (P < 0.05) to test for differences in the mesiodistal dimension between the sample and the control group. Significance has been assessed using a P-value threshold level of 5 per cent. Agenesis of maxillary lateral incisors was found to be a significant predictor of tooth size. Patients who were missing maxillary lateral incisors had smaller teeth compared to control subjects, except for the maxillary right and left first molars. This finding was true for both unilateral and bilateral lateral incisor agenesis. Interaction between maxillary lateral incisor agenesis and gender was not significant. Patients with congenitally missing lateral incisors have narrower teeth than patients without any dental anomalies, except for maxillary first molars. A higher prevalence of microdontic contralateral incisors was found in patients with unilateral agenesis with respect to the control group.

Concepts: Teeth, Analysis of variance, Molar, Incisor, Maxillary central incisor, Canine tooth, Maxillary lateral incisor, Mandibular lateral incisor


Ornament displays seen in animals convey information about genetic quality, developmental history and current disease state to both prospective sexual partners and potential rivals. In this context, showing of teeth through smiles etc is a characteristic feature of human social interaction. Tooth development is influenced by genetic and environmental factors. Adult teeth record environmental and traumatic events, as well as the effects of disease and ageing. Teeth are therefore a rich source of information about individuals and their histories. This study examined the effects of digital manipulations of tooth colour and spacing. Results showed that deviation away from normal spacing and/or the presence of yellowed colouration had negative effects on ratings of attractiveness and that these effects were markedly stronger in female models. Whitening had no effect beyond that produced by natural colouration. This indicates that these colour induced alterations in ratings of attractiveness are mediated by increased/decreased yellowing rather than whitening per se. Teeth become yellower and darker with age. Therefore it is suggested that whilst the teeth of both sexes act as human ornament displays, the female display is more complex because it additionally signals residual reproductive value.

Concepts: Disease, Male, Reproduction, Female, Behavior, Teeth, Yellow, Social behavior


Carbonated hydroxyapatite is the mineral found in vertebrate bones and teeth, whereas invertebrates utilize calcium carbonate in their mineralized organs. In particular, stable amorphous calcium carbonate is found in many crustaceans. Here we report on an unusual, crystalline enamel-like apatite layer found in the mandibles of the arthropod Cherax quadricarinatus (freshwater crayfish). Despite their very different thermodynamic stabilities, amorphous calcium carbonate, amorphous calcium phosphate, calcite and fluorapatite coexist in well-defined functional layers in close proximity within the mandible. The softer amorphous minerals are found primarily in the bulk of the mandible whereas apatite, the harder and less soluble mineral, forms a wear-resistant, enamel-like coating of the molar tooth. Our findings suggest a unique case of convergent evolution, where similar functional challenges of mastication led to independent developments of structurally and mechanically similar, apatite-based layers in the teeth of genetically remote phyla: vertebrates and crustaceans.

Concepts: Arthropod, Calcium, Crustacean, Mineral, Calcium carbonate, Teeth, Crayfish, Aragonite


BACKGROUND: Recent studies reported on the very complex morphology of the pulp system in equine cheek teeth. The continuous production of secondary dentine leads to distinct age-related changes of the endodontic cavity. Detailed anatomical knowledge of the dental cavities in all ages is required to explain the aetiopathology of typical equine endodontic diseases. Furthermore, data on mandibular and maxillary pulp systems is in high demand to provide a basis for the development of endodontic therapies. However, until now examination of the pulp cavity has been based on either sectioned teeth or clinical computed tomography. More precise results were expected by using micro-computed tomography with a resolution of about 0.1 mm and three-dimensional reconstructions based on previous greyscale analyses and histological verification. The aim of the present study was to describe the physiological configurations of the pulp system within a wide spectrum of tooth ages. RESULTS: Maxillary teeth: All morphological constituents of the endodontic cavity were present in teeth between 4 and 16 years: Triadan 06s displayed six pulp horns and five root canals, Triadan 07-10s five pulp horns and four root canals and Triadan 11s seven pulp horns and four to six root canals. A common pulp chamber was most frequent in teeth <=5 years, but was found even in a tooth of 9 years. A large variety of pulp configurations was observed within 2.5 and 16 years post eruption, but most commonly a separation into mesial and distal pulp compartments was seen. Maxillary cheek teeth showed up to four separate pulp compartments but the frequency of two, three and four pulp compartments was not related to tooth age (P > 0.05). In Triadan 06s, pulp horn 6 was always connected to pulp horns 1 and 3 and root canal I. In Triadan 11s, pulp horns 7 and 8 were present in variable constitutions. Mandibular teeth: A common pulp chamber was present in teeth up to 15 years, but most commonly seen in teeth <=5 years. A segmented pulp system was found in 72% of the investigated teeth. Segmentation into separate mesial and distal pulp compartments was most commonly present. Pulp horn 4 coalesced either with the mesial pulp horns 1 and 3 or with the distal pulp horns 2 and 5. CONCLUSIONS: Details of the pulpar anatomy of equine cheek teeth are provided, supporting the continuous advancement in endodontic therapy. Numerous individual configurations of the pulp system were obtained in maxillary cheek teeth, but much less variability was seen in mandibular cheek teeth.

Concepts: Teeth, Tooth, Dental caries, Root canal, Endodontic therapy, Endodontics, Dentin, Animal anatomy


BACKGROUND: Dental caries among young children are a global problem. Scant attention is paid towards primary teeth, leading to high prevalence of dental caries. There are only few studies done in Sri Lanka, addressing oral hygiene among preschool children. Scientific evidence is in need to persuade authorities to establish a programme promoting oral hygiene among preschool children. METHODS: A descriptive cross sectional study was conducted in Ragama Medical officer of Health area. Consecutive children between 2 – 5 years of age, attending child welfare clinics were recruited for the study. Practices related to dental hygiene and socio-economic characteristics were obtained using an interviewer administered questionnaire. Mouth was examined for evidence of dental caries. Data collection and examination were done by two doctors who were trained for this purpose. The data were analysed using SSPS version 16. RESULTS: Total of 410 children were included. None had a routine visits to a dentist. Practices related to tooth brushing were satisfactory. Prevalence of dental caries gradually increased with age to reach 68.8% by 5 years. Mean total decayed-extracted-filled (deft) score for the whole sample was 1.41 and Significant caries index (SIC) was 4.09. Decayed tooth were the main contributor for the deft score and Care index was only 1.55. Girls had a significantly higher prevalence of caries than boys. CONCLUSIONS: Dental care provided for Sri Lankan preschool children appears to be unsatisfactory as prevalence of dental caries among this cohort of preschool children was very high. There is an urgent need to improve dental care facilities for Sri Lankan preschool children.

Concepts: Teeth, Dental caries, Sri Lanka, Dental plaque, Oral hygiene, Dental floss, Halitosis, Toothbrush


BACKGROUND: Cleidocranial dysplasia (CCD) is a rare congenital autosomal dominant skeletal disorder. The disorder is caused by heterozygosity of mutations in human RUNX2, which is present on the short arm of chromosome 6p21. The incidence of CCD is one per million births. CCD appears spontaneously with no apparent genetic cause in approximately 40% of affected patients, and one in three patients has unaffected parents. The most prevalent features associated with CCD are aplastic or hypoplastic clavicles, supernumerary teeth, failed eruption of permanent teeth, and a hypoplastic maxilla. CASE PRESENTATION: A 13-year-old Caucasian boy presented with a chief complaint of delayed eruption of the permanent anterior teeth. The patient was subsequently diagnosed with CCD based on the clinical examination, panoramic X-ray, anterior-posterior and lateral cephalogram, and chest radiograph findings. The details of this case are herein reported because of the extremely low incidence of this disorder. CONCLUSIONS: CCD is of clinical importance in dentistry and medicine because it affects the bones and teeth and is characterized by many changes in skeletal patterning and growth. Particularly in dentistry, CCD is of great clinical significance because is associated with delayed ossification of the skull sutures, delayed exfoliation of the primary teeth, lack of permanent teeth eruption, multiple supernumerary teeth, and morphological abnormalities of the maxilla and mandible. Patients with CCD seek treatment mainly for dental problems. Knowledge of the pathogenesis, clinical characteristics, and diagnostic tools of CCD will enable clinicians to render the appropriate treatment to improve function and aesthetics. Early diagnosis of CCD is crucial for timely initiation of an appropriate treatment approach.

Concepts: Medical terms, Medical statistics, Chromosome, Teeth, Hyperdontia, Dental anatomy, Cleidocranial dysostosis, Permanent teeth