5.2.9 Dental Remains

The data presented here is preliminary as a more detailed analysis was undertaken by a dental specialist (N.W. Kerr) and is expected to be reported on at a later date. Caries, ante-mortem loss and dental abscesses will be discussed in the present report.

Four-fifths (25/32) of adults with dental remains had some form of dental pathology (excluding periodontal disease) compared with one tenth (12%; 2/12) of immatures.


Sixty-three percent of adults (19/31) and 12% of immatures (2/12) displayed one or more carious teeth, seven percent (50/741) of all permanent teeth being affected (Table 35). The incidence of caries increased from the anterior to the posterior teeth. The increasing frequency the farther back in the mouth the tooth is located may reflect the ease with which the teeth are cleaned, either manually or with the tongue, combined with the effects of fissures in the occlusal surface.

Ante-mortem loss

Fifty-seven percent of adults (17/30) displayed ante-mortem loss of one or more teeth, ten percent (85/864) of permanent tooth positions being affected. No immatures were affected. Ante-mortem loss was least common in the anterior dentition and increased in frequency towards the back of the mouth. Four percent (10/227) of incisors, one percent (2/110) of canines, three percent (7/225) of premolars, 20% (24/118) first molars, 17% (19/110) of second molars and 27% (24/90) of third molars were lost ante-mortem. These figures broadly correspond with those from caries, suggesting that most teeth were lost as a result of severe caries, abscess development and subsequent exfoliation.


0029 Evidence of an abcess

Forty-seven percent of adults (14/30) displayed one or more abscesses [Photo 0029]. Four percent (35/779) of sockets of the permanent dentition were affected. Immatures were unaffected. Again, the molars were most often involved, although the first and third molars were affected equally. Two percent (4/207) of incisors, no canines (0/107), 3% (7/218) of premolars, 11% (11/100) of first molars, five percent (5/92) of second molars and 11% (7/64) of third molars displayed abscesses.


No examples of impacted third molars were noted, although there were two cases of unerupted left maxillary canines (SK 239 and SK 245).


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