Teeth: Wikis


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Teeth by David Shankbone.jpg
An adult human's teeth.
CGI posterior view of teeth taken from inside mouth
Dorlands/Elsevier Tooth

Teeth (singular tooth) are small, calcified, whitish structures found in the jaws (or mouths) of many vertebrates that are used to tear, scrape, and chew food. Some animals, particularly carnivores, also use teeth for hunting or defense. The roots of teeth are covered by gums. Teeth are not made of bone, but rather of tissues of varying density and hardness.

Teeth are among the most distinctive (and long-lasting) features of mammal species. Paleontologists use teeth to identify fossil species and determine their relationships. The shape of the animal's teeth are related to its diet. For example, plant matter is hard to digest, so herbivores have many molars for chewing. Carnivores, on the other hand, need canines to kill prey and to tear meat.

Mammals are diphyodont, meaning that they develop two sets of teeth. In humans, the first set (the "baby," "milk," "primary" or "deciduous" set) normally starts to appear at about six months of age, although some babies are born with one or more visible teeth, known as neonatal teeth. Normal tooth eruption at about six months is known as teething and can be painful.

Some animals develop only one set of teeth (monophyodont) while others develop many sets (polyphyodont). Sharks, for example, grow a new set of teeth every two weeks to replace worn teeth. Rodent incisors grow and wear away continually through gnawing, maintaining relatively constant length. The industry of the beaver is due in part to this qualification. Many rodents such as voles (but not mice) and guinea pigs, as well as rabbits, have continuously growing molars in addition to incisors.[1][2]



Dental anatomy is a field of anatomy dedicated to the study of tooth structures. The development, appearance, and classification of teeth fall within its field of study, though dental occlusion, or contact among teeth, does not. Dental anatomy is also a taxonomical science as it is concerned with the naming of teeth and their structures. This information serves a practical purpose for dentists, enabling them to easily identify teeth and structures during treatment.

The anatomic crown of a tooth is the area covered in enamel above the cementoenamel junction (CEJ).[3] The majority of the crown is composed of dentin with the pulp chamber in the center.[4] The crown is within bone before eruption.[5] After eruption, it is almost always visible. The anatomic root is found below the cementoenamel junction and is covered with cementum. As with the crown, dentin composes most of the root, which normally have pulp canals. A tooth may have multiple roots or just one root. Canines and most premolars, except for maxillary (upper) first premolars, usually have one root. Maxillary first premolars and mandibular molars usually have two roots. Maxillary molars usually have three roots. Additional roots are referred to as supernumerary roots.

Models of human teeth as they exist within the alveolar bone.

Humans usually have 20 primary teeth (also called deciduous, baby, or milk teeth) and 32 permanent teeth. Among primary teeth, ten are found in the (upper) maxilla and the other ten in the (lower) mandible. Teeth are classified as incisors, canines, and molars. In the primary set of teeth, there are two types of incisors, centrals and laterals, and two types of molars, first and second. All primary teeth are replaced with permanent counterparts except for molars, which are replaced by permanent premolars. Among permanent teeth, 16 are found in the maxilla with the other 16 in the mandible. The maxillary teeth are the maxillary central incisor, maxillary lateral incisor, maxillary canine, maxillary first premolar, maxillary second premolar, maxillary first molar, maxillary second molar, and maxillary third molar. The mandibular teeth are the mandibular central incisor, mandibular lateral incisor, mandibular canine, mandibular first premolar, mandibular second premolar, mandibular first molar, mandibular second molar, and mandibular third molar. Third molars are commonly called "wisdom teeth" and may never erupt into the mouth or form at all. If any additional teeth form, for example, fourth and fifth molars, which are rare, they are referred to as supernumerary teeth.[6]

Most teeth have identifiable features that distinguish them from others. There are several different notation systems to refer to a specific tooth. The three most common systems are the FDI World Dental Federation notation, the universal numbering system, and Palmer notation method. The FDI system is used worldwide, and the universal is used widely in the United States.

The bottom teeth are used more for the grinding of food and the top front teeth are mainly used for biting.


Section of a human molar


Enamel is the hardest and most highly mineralized substance of the body and is one of the four major tissues which make up the tooth, along with dentin, cementum, and dental pulp.[7] It is normally visible and must be supported by underlying dentin. Ninety-six percent of enamel consists of mineral, with water and organic material composing the rest.[8] The normal color of enamel varies from light yellow to grayish white. At the edges of teeth where there is no dentin underlying the enamel, the color sometimes has a slightly blue tone. Since enamel is semitranslucent, the color of dentin and any restorative dental material underneath the enamel strongly affects the appearance of a tooth. Enamel varies in thickness over the surface of the tooth and is often thickest at the cusp, up to 2.5 mm, and thinnest at its border, which is seen clinically as the cementoenamel junction (CEJ).[9]

Enamel's primary mineral is hydroxyapatite, which is a crystalline calcium phosphate.[10] The large amount of minerals in enamel accounts not only for its strength but also for its brittleness.[9] Dentin, which is less mineralized and less brittle, compensates for enamel and is necessary as a support.[10] Unlike dentin and bone, enamel does not contain collagen. Instead, it has two unique classes of proteins called amelogenins and enamelins. While the role of these proteins is not fully understood, it is believed that they aid in the development of enamel by serving as framework support among other functions.[11]


Dentin is the substance between enamel or cementum and the pulp chamber. It is secreted by the odontoblasts of the dental pulp.[12] The formation of dentin is known as dentinogenesis. The porous, yellow-hued material is made up of 70% inorganic materials, 20% organic materials, and 10% water by weight.[13] Because it is softer than enamel, it decays more rapidly and is subject to severe cavities if not properly treated, but dentin still acts as a protective layer and supports the crown of the tooth.

Dentin is a mineralized connective tissue with an organic matrix of collagenous proteins. Dentin has microscopic channels, called dentinal tubules, which radiate outward through the dentin from the pulp cavity to the exterior cementum or enamel border.[14] The diameter of these tubules range from 2.5 μm near the pulp, to 1.2 μm in the midportion, and 900 nm near the dentino-enamel junction.[15] Although they may have tiny side-branches, the tubules do not intersect with each other. Their length is dictated by the radius of the tooth. The three dimensional configuration of the dentinal tubules is genetically determined.


Cementum is a specialized bony substance covering the root of a tooth.[12] It is approximately 45% inorganic material (mainly hydroxyapatite), 33% organic material (mainly collagen) and 22% water. Cementum is excreted by cementoblasts within the root of the tooth and is thickest at the root apex. Its coloration is yellowish and it is softer than either dentin or enamel. The principal role of cementum is to serve as a medium by which the periodontal ligaments can attach to the tooth for stability. At the cementoenamel junction, the cementum is acellular due to its lack of cellular components, and this acellular type covers at least ⅔ of the root.[16] The more permeable form of cementum, cellular cementum, covers about ⅓ of the root apex.[17]


The dental pulp is the central part of the tooth filled with soft connective tissue.[13] This tissue contains blood vessels and nerves that enter the tooth from a hole at the apex of the root.[18] Along the border between the dentin and the pulp are odontoblasts, which initiate the formation of dentin.[13] Other cells in the pulp include fibroblasts, preodontoblasts, macrophages and T lymphocytes.[19] The pulp is commonly called "the nerve" of the tooth.


Radiograph of lower right third, second, and first molars in different stages of development.

Tooth development is the complex process by which teeth form from embryonic cells, grow, and erupt into the mouth. Although many diverse species have teeth, non-human tooth development is largely the same as in humans. For human teeth to have a healthy oral environment, enamel, dentin, cementum, and the periodontium must all develop during appropriate stages of fetal development. Primary (baby) teeth start to form between the sixth and eighth weeks in utero, and permanent teeth begin to form in the twentieth week in utero.[20] If teeth do not start to develop at or near these times, they will not develop at all.

A significant amount of research has focused on determining the processes that initiate tooth development. It is widely accepted that there is a factor within the tissues of the first branchial arch that is necessary for the development of teeth.[21]

Tooth development is commonly divided into the following stages: the bud stage, the cap, the bell, and finally maturation. The staging of tooth development is an attempt to categorize changes that take place along a continuum; frequently it is difficult to decide what stage should be assigned to a particular developing tooth.[21] This determination is further complicated by the varying appearance of different histologic sections of the same developing tooth, which can appear to be different stages.

The tooth bud (sometimes called the tooth germ) is an aggregation of cells that eventually forms a tooth. It is organized into three parts: the enamel organ, the dental papilla and the dental follicle.[22] The enamel organ is composed of the outer enamel epithelium, inner enamel epithelium, stellate reticulum and stratum intermedium.[22] These cells give rise to ameloblasts, which produce enamel and the reduced enamel epithelium. The growth of cervical loop cells into the deeper tissues forms Hertwig's Epithelial Root Sheath, which determines a tooth's root shape. The dental papilla contains cells that develop into odontoblasts, which are dentin-forming cells.[22] Additionally, the junction between the dental papilla and inner enamel epithelium determines the crown shape of a tooth.[23] The dental follicle gives rise to three important entities: cementoblasts, osteoblasts, and fibroblasts. Cementoblasts form the cementum of a tooth. Osteoblasts give rise to the alveolar bone around the roots of teeth. Fibroblasts develop the periodontal ligaments which connect teeth to the alveolar bone through cementum.[24]


Bottom teeth of a seven-year old, showing primary teeth (left), a lost primary tooth (middle), and a permanent tooth (right)

Tooth eruption in humans is a process in tooth development in which the teeth enter the mouth and become visible. Current research indicates that the periodontal ligaments play an important role in tooth eruption. Primary teeth erupt into the mouth from around six months until two years of age. These teeth are the only ones in the mouth until a person is about six years old. At that time, the first permanent tooth erupts. This stage, during which a person has a combination of primary and permanent teeth, is known as the mixed stage. The mixed stage lasts until the last primary tooth is lost and the remaining permanent teeth erupt into the mouth.

There have been many theories about the cause of tooth eruption. One theory proposes that the developing root of a tooth pushes it into the mouth.[25] Another, known as the cushioned hammock theory, resulted from microscopic study of teeth, which was thought to show a ligament around the root. It was later discovered that the "ligament" was merely an artifact created in the process of preparing the slide.[26] Currently, the most widely held belief is that the periodontal ligaments provide the main impetus for the process.[27]

The onset of primary tooth loss has been found to correlate strongly with somatic and psychological criteria of school readiness.[28][29]

Supporting structures

Histologic slide of tooth erupting into the mouth.
A: tooth
B: gingiva
C: bone
D: periodontal ligaments

The periodontium is the supporting structure of a tooth, helping to attach the tooth to surrounding tissues and to allow sensations of touch and pressure.[30] It consists of the cementum, periodontal ligaments, alveolar bone, and gingiva. Of these, cementum is the only one that is a part of a tooth. Periodontal ligaments connect the alveolar bone to the cementum. Alveolar bone surrounds the roots of teeth to provide support and creates what is commonly called an alveolus, or "socket". Lying over the bone is the gingiva or gum, which is readily visible in the mouth.

Periodontal ligaments

The periodontal ligament is a specialized connective tissue that attaches the cementum of a tooth to the alveolar bone. This tissue covers the root of the tooth within the bone. Each ligament has a width of 0.15 - 0.38 mm, but this size decreases over time.[31] The functions of the periodontal ligaments include attachment of the tooth to the bone, support for the tooth, formation and resorption of bone during tooth movement, sensation, and eruption.[32] The cells of the periodontal ligaments include osteoblasts, osteoclasts, fibroblasts, macrophages, cementoblasts, and epithelial cell rests of Malassez.[33] Consisting of mostly Type I and III collagen, the fibers are grouped in bundles and named according to their location. The groups of fibers are named alveolar crest, horizontal, oblique, periapical, and interradicular fibers.[34] The nerve supply generally enters from the bone apical to the tooth and forms a network around the tooth toward the crest of the gingiva.[35] When pressure is exerted on a tooth, such as during chewing or biting, the tooth moves slightly in its socket and puts tension on the periodontal ligaments. The nerve fibers can then send the information to the central nervous system for interpretation.

Alveolar bone

The alveolar bone is the bone of the jaw which forms the alveolus around teeth.[36] Like any other bone in the human body, alveolar bone is modified throughout life. Osteoblasts create bone and osteoclasts destroy it, especially if force is placed on a tooth.[30] As is the case when movement of teeth is attempted through orthodontics, an area of bone under compressive force from a tooth moving toward it has a high osteoclast level, resulting in bone resorption. An area of bone receiving tension from periodontal ligaments attached to a tooth moving away from it has a high number of osteoblasts, resulting in bone formation.


The gingiva ("gums") is the mucosal tissue that overlays the jaws. There are three different types of epithelium associated with the gingiva: gingival, junctional, and sulcular epithelium. These three types form from a mass of epithelial cells known as the epithelial cuff between the tooth and the mouth.[37] The gingival epithelium is not associated directly with tooth attachment and is visible in the mouth. The junctional epithelium, composed of the basal lamina and hemidesmosomes, forms an attachment to the tooth.[32] The sulcular epithelium is nonkeratinized stratified squamous tissue on the gingiva which touches but is not attached to the tooth.[38]

Tooth decay


Plaque is a biofilm consisting of large quantities of various bacteria that form on teeth.[39] If not removed regularly, plaque buildup can lead to dental cavities (caries) or periodontal problems such as gingivitis. Given time, plaque can mineralize along the gingiva, forming tartar. The microorganisms that form the biofilm are almost entirely bacteria (mainly streptococcus and anaerobes), with the composition varying by location in the mouth.[40] Streptococcus mutans is the most important bacteria associated with dental caries.

Certain bacteria in the mouth live off the remains of foods, especially sugars and starches. In the absence of oxygen they produce lactic acid, which dissolves the calcium and phosphorus in the enamel.[12][41] This process, known as "demineralisation", leads to tooth destruction. Saliva gradually neutralises the acids which cause the pH of the tooth surface to rise above the critical pH. This causes 'remineralisation', the return of the dissolved minerals to the enamel. If there is sufficient time between the intake of foods then the impact is limited and the teeth can repair themselves. Saliva is unable to penetrate through plaque, however, to neutralize the acid produced by the bacteria.

Caries (Cavities)

Advanced tooth decay on a premolar.

Dental caries, also described as "tooth decay" or "dental cavities", is an infectious disease which damages the structures of teeth.[42] The disease can lead to pain, tooth loss, infection, and, in severe cases, death. Dental caries has a long history, with evidence showing the disease was present in the Bronze, Iron, and Middle ages but also prior to the neolithic period.[43] The largest increases in the prevalence of caries have been associated with diet changes.[43][44] Today, caries remains one of the most common diseases throughout the world. In the United States, dental caries is the most common chronic childhood disease, being at least five times more common than asthma.[45] Countries that have experienced an overall decrease in cases of tooth decay continue to have a disparity in the distribution of the disease.[46] Among children in the United States and Europe, 60-80% of cases of dental caries occur in 20% of the population.[47]

Tooth decay is caused by certain types of acid-producing bacteria which cause the most damage in the presence of fermentable carbohydrates such as sucrose, fructose, and glucose.[48][49] The resulting acidic levels in the mouth affect teeth because a tooth's special mineral content causes it to be sensitive to low pH. Depending on the extent of tooth destruction, various treatments can be used to restore teeth to proper form, function, and aesthetics, but there is no known method to regenerate large amounts of tooth structure. Instead, dental health organizations advocate preventative and prophylactic measures, such as regular oral hygiene and dietary modifications, to avoid dental caries.[50]

Tooth care

Toothbrushes are commonly used to help clean teeth.

Oral hygiene is the practice of keeping the mouth clean and is a means of preventing dental caries, gingivitis, periodontal disease, bad breath, and other dental disorders. It consists of both professional and personal care. Regular cleanings, usually done by dentists and dental hygienists, remove tartar (mineralized plaque) that may develop even with careful brushing and flossing. Professional cleaning includes tooth scaling, using various instruments or devices to loosen and remove deposits from teeth.

The purpose of cleaning teeth is to remove plaque, which consists mostly of bacteria.[51] Healthcare professionals recommend regular brushing twice a day (in the morning and in the evening, or after meals) in order to prevent formation of plaque and tartar.[50] A toothbrush is able to remove most plaque, excepting areas between teeth. As a result, flossing is also considered a necessity to maintain oral hygiene. When used correctly, dental floss removes plaque from between teeth and at the gum line, where periodontal disease often begins and could develop caries. Electric toothbrushes are not considered more effective than manual brushes for most people.[52] The most important advantage of electric toothbrushes is their ability to aid people with dexterity difficulties, such as those associated with rheumatoid arthritis.

Fluoride therapy is often recommended to protect against dental caries. Water fluoridation and fluoride supplements decrease the incidence of dental caries. Fluoride helps prevent dental decay by binding to the hydroxyapatite crystals in enamel.[53] The incorporated fluoride makes enamel more resistant to demineralization and thus more resistant to decay.[54] Topical fluoride, such as a fluoride toothpaste or mouthwash, is also recommended to protect teeth surfaces. Many dentists include application of topical fluoride solutions as part of routine cleanings.


After a tooth has been damaged or destroyed, restoration of the missing structure can be achieved with a variety of treatments. Restorations may be created from a variety of materials, including glass ionomer, amalgam, gold, porcelain, and composite.[55] Small restorations placed inside a tooth are referred to as "intracoronal restorations". These restorations may be formed directly in the mouth or may be cast using the lost-wax technique, such as for some inlays and onlays. When larger portions of a tooth are lost, an "extracoronal restoration" may be fabricated, such as a crown or a veneer, to restore the involved tooth.

A restored premolar.

When a tooth is lost, dentures, bridges, or implants may be used as replacements.[56] Dentures are usually the least costly whereas implants are usually the most expensive. Dentures may replace complete arches of the mouth or only a partial number of teeth. Bridges replace smaller spaces of missing teeth and use adjacent teeth to support the restoration. Dental implants may be used to replace a single tooth or a series of teeth. Though implants are the most expensive treatment option, they are often the most desirable restoration because of their aesthetics and function. To improve the function of dentures, implants may be used as support.[57]


Tooth abnormalities may be categorized according to whether they have environmental or developmental causes.[58] While environmental abnormalities may appear to have an obvious cause, there may not appear to be any known cause for some developmental abnormalities. Environmental forces may affect teeth during development, destroy tooth structure after development, discolor teeth at any stage of development, or alter the course of tooth eruption. Developmental abnormalities most commonly affect the number, size, shape, and structure of teeth.


Alteration during tooth development

Tooth abnormalities caused by environmental factors during tooth development have long-lasting effects. Enamel and dentin do not regenerate after they mineralize initially. Enamel hypoplasia is a condition in which the amount of enamel formed is inadequate.[59] This results either in pits and grooves in areas of the tooth or in widespread absence of enamel. Diffuse opacities of enamel does not affect the amount of enamel but changes its appearance. Affected enamel has a different translucency than the rest of the tooth. Demarcated opacities of enamel have sharp boundaries where the translucency decreases and manifest a white, cream, yellow, or brown color. All these may be caused by a systemic event, such as an exanthematous fever.[60] Turner's hypoplasia is a portion of missing or diminished enamel on a permanent tooth usually from a prior infection of a nearby primary tooth. Hypoplasia may also result from antineoplastic therapy. Dental fluorosis is condition which results from ingesting excessive amounts of fluoride and leads to teeth which are spotted, yellow, brown, black or sometimes pitted. Enamel hypoplasia resulting from syphilis is frequently referred to as Hutchinson's teeth, which is considered one part of Hutchinson's triad.[61]

Destruction after development

Tooth destruction from processes other than dental caries is considered a normal physiologic process but may become severe enough to become a pathologic condition. Attrition is the loss of tooth structure by mechanical forces from opposing teeth.[62] Attrition initially affects the enamel and, if unchecked, may proceed to the underlying dentin. Abrasion is the loss of tooth structure by mechanical forces from a foreign element.[63] If this force begins at the cementoenamel junction, then progression of tooth loss can be rapid since enamel is very thin in this region of the tooth. A common source of this type of tooth wear is excessive force when using a toothbrush. Erosion is the loss of tooth structure due to chemical dissolution by acids not of bacterial origin.[64][65] Signs of tooth destruction from erosion is a common characteristic in the mouths of people with bulimia since vomiting results in exposure of the teeth to gastric acids. Another important source of erosive acids are from frequent sucking of lemon juice. Abfraction is the loss of tooth structure from flexural forces. As teeth flex under pressure, the arrangement of teeth touching each other, known as occlusion, causes tension on one side of the tooth and compression on the other side of the tooth. This is believed to cause V-shaped depressions on the side under tension and C-shaped depressions on the side under compression. When tooth destruction occurs at the roots of teeth, the process is referred to as internal resorption, when caused by cells within the pulp, or external resorption, when caused by cells in the periodontal ligament.


Discoloration of teeth may result from bacteria stains, tobacco, tea, coffee, foods with an abundance of chlorophyll, restorative materials, and medications.[66] Stains from bacteria may cause colors varying from green to black to orange. Green stains also result from foods with chlorophyll or excessive exposure to copper or nickel. Amalgam, a common dental restorative material, may turn adjacent areas of teeth black or gray. Long term use of chlorhexidine, a mouthwash may encourage extrinsic stain formation near the gingiva on teeth. This is usually easy for a hygienist to remove. Systemic disorders also can cause tooth discoloration. Congenital erythropoietic porphyria causes porphyrins to be deposited in teeth, causing a red-brown coloration. Blue discoloration may occur with alkaptonuria and rarely with Parkinson's disease. Erythroblastosis fetalis and biliary atresia are diseases which may cause teeth to appear green from the deposition of biliverdin. Also, trauma may change a tooth to a pink, yellow, or dark gray color. Pink and red discolorations are also associated in patients with lepromatous leprosy. Some medications, such as tetracycline antibiotics, may become incorporated into the structure of a tooth, causing intrinsic staining of the teeth.

Alteration of eruption

Tooth eruption may be altered by some environmental factors. When eruption is prematurely stopped, the tooth is said to be impacted. The most common cause of tooth impaction is lack of space in the mouth for the tooth.[67] Other causes may be tumors, cysts, trauma, and thickened bone or soft tissue. Ankylosis of a tooth occurs when the tooth has already erupted into the mouth but the cementum or dentin has fused with the alveolar bone. This may cause a person to retain their primary tooth instead of having it replaced by a permanent one.

A technique for altering the natural progression of eruption is employed by orthodontists who wish to delay or speed up the eruption of certain teeth for reasons of space maintenance or otherwise preventing crowding and/or spacing. If a primary tooth is extracted prior to the root of its succeeding permanent tooth reaching ⅓ of its total growth, the eruption of the permanent tooth will be delayed. Conversely, if the roots of the permanent tooth are more than ⅔ complete, the eruption of the permanent tooth will be accelerated. Between ⅓ and ⅔, it is unknown exactly what will occur to the speed of eruption.


Abnormality in number

Anodontia is the total lack of tooth development. Hyperdontia is the presence of a higher-than-normal number of teeth, whereas Hypodontia is the lack of some teeth. Usually, hypodontia refers to the lack of development of one or more teeth, and oligodontia may be used to describe the absence of 6 or more teeth. Some systemic disorders which may result in hyperdontia include Apert syndrome, Cleidocranial dysostosis, Crouzon syndrome, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, Gardner syndrome, and Sturge-Weber syndrome.[68] Some systemic disorders which may result in hypodontia include Crouzon syndrome, Ectodermal dysplasia, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, and Gorlin syndrome.[69]

Abnormality in size

Microdontia is a condition where teeth are smaller than the usual size, and macrodontia is where teeth are larger than the usual size. Microdontia of a single tooth is more likely to occur in a maxillary lateral incisor. The second most likely tooth to have microdontia are third molars. Macrodontia of all the teeth is known to occur in pituitary gigantism and pineal hyperplasia. It may also occur on one side of the face in cases of hemifacial hyperplasia.

Abnormality in shape

The fusion of two deciduous teeth.

Gemination occurs when a developing tooth incompletely splits into the formation of two teeth. Fusion is the union of two adjacent teeth during development. Concrescence is the fusion of two separate teeth only in their cementum. Accessory cusps are additional cusps on a tooth and may manifest as a Talon cusp, Cusp of Carabelli, or Dens evaginatus. Dens invaginatus, also called Dens in dente, is a deep invagination in a tooth causing the appearance of a tooth within a tooth. Ectopic enamel is enamel found in an unusual location, such as the root of a tooth. Taurodontism is a condition where the body of the tooth and pulp chamber is enlarged, and is associated with Klinefelter syndrome, Tricho-dento-osseous syndrome, Triple X syndrome, and XYY syndrome.[70] Hypercementosis is excessive formation of cementum, which may result from trauma, inflammation, acromegaly, rheumatic fever, and Paget's disease of bone.[70] A dilaceration is a bend in the root which may have been caused by trauma to the tooth during formation. Supernumerary roots is the presence of a greater number of roots on a tooth than expected.

Abnormality in structure

Amelogenesis imperfecta is a condition in which enamel does not form properly or at all.[71] Dentinogenesis imperfecta is a condition in which dentin does not form properly and is sometimes associated with osteogenesis imperfecta.[72] Dentin dysplasia is a disorder in which the roots and pulp of teeth may be affected. Regional odontodysplasia is a disorder affecting enamel, dentin, and pulp and causes the teeth to appear "ghostly" on radiographs.[73]

Fossil record

Because teeth are very resistant, often preserved when bones are not, [74] and reflect the diet of the host organism, they are very valuable to archaeologists and palaeontologists. Early fish such as the thelodonts had teeth for scales, suggesting that the origin of teeth was scales which were retained in the mouth. Fish as early as the late Cambrian had dentine in their exoskeleton, which may have functioned in defense or for sensing their environment.[75] Dentine can be as hard as the rest of teeth, and is composed of collagen fibres, reinforced with hydroxyapatite.[75]

Decalcification removes the enamel from teeth and leaves only the organic interior intact, which comprises dentine and cementine.[76] Enamel is quickly decalcified in acids,[77] perhaps by dissolution by plant acids or via diagenetic solutions, or even the stomach of vertebrate predators.[76] Enamel can also be lost by abrasion or spalling,[76] and is lost before dentine or bone are destroyed by the fossilisation process.[77] In such a case, the 'skeleton' of the teeth would consist of the dentine, with a hollow pulp cavity.[76] Dentine, conversely, is destroyed by alkalis.[77]

See also




  1. ^ Tummers M, Thesleff I (March 2003). "Root or crown: a developmental choice orchestrated by the differential regulation of the epithelial stem cell niche in the tooth of two rodent species". Development 130 (6): 1049–57. doi:10.1242/dev.00332. PMID 12571097. 
  2. ^ Hunt AM (1959). "A description of the molar teeth and investing tissues of normal guinea pigs". J. Dent. Res. 38 (2): 216–31. PMID 13641521. http://jdr.sagepub.com/cgi/pmidlookup?view=long&pmid=13641521. 
  3. ^ Ash 2003, p. 6
  4. ^ Cate 1998, p. 3
  5. ^ Ash 2003, p. 9
  6. ^ Kokten G, Balcioglu H, Buyukertan M (November 2003). "Supernumerary fourth and fifth molars: a report of two cases". J Contemp Dent Pract 4 (4): 67–76. PMID 14625596. http://www.thejcdp.com/issue016/kokten/index_nlm.htm. 
  7. ^ Ross, Michael H., Gordon I. Kaye, and Wojciech Pawlina, "Histology: a Text and Atlas", 4th ed. (Baltimore: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2002), p. 441.
  8. ^ Cate, A. R. Ten, "Oral Histology: Development, Structure, and Function", 5th ed. (Saint Louis: Mosby-Year Book, 1998), p. 1.
  9. ^ a b Cate 1998, p. 219
  10. ^ a b Johnson, Clarke. "Biology of the Human Dentition," 1998. Page accessed on January 24, 2007.
  11. ^ Cate 1998, p. 198
  12. ^ a b c Ross, Michael H., Gordon I. Kaye, and Wojciech Pawlina, 2003. Histology: a text and atlas. 4th edition. Page 448. ISBN 0-683-30242-6.
  13. ^ a b c Cate, A.R. Ten. Oral Histology: development, structure, and function. 5th ed. 1998. Page 150. ISBN 0-8151-2952-1.
  14. ^ Ross, Michael H., Gordon I. Kaye, and Wojciech Pawlina, 2003. Histology: a text and atlas. 4th edition. Page 450. ISBN 0-683-30242-6.
  15. ^ Cate 1998, p. 152
  16. ^ Cate 1998, p. 236
  17. ^ Cate 1998, p. 241
  18. ^ Ross, Michael H., Gordon I. Kaye, and Wojciech Pawlina, 2003. Histology: a text and atlas. 4th edition. Page 451. ISBN 0-683-30242-6.
  19. ^ Walton, Richard E. and Mahmoud Torabinejad. Principles and Practice of Endodontics. 3rd ed. 2002. Pages 11-13. ISBN 0-7216-9160-9.
  20. ^ Cate 1998, p. 95
  21. ^ a b Cate 1998, p. 81
  22. ^ a b c *University of Texas Medical Branch. "Lab Exercises: Tooth development." Page found here.
  23. ^ Cate 1998, pp. 86 and 102.
  24. ^ *Ross, Michael H., Gordon I. Kaye, and Wojciech Pawlina. Histology: a text and atlas. 4th edition, p. 453. 2003. ISBN 0-683-30242-6.
  25. ^ Harris, Edward F. Craniofacial Growth and Development. In the section entitled "Tooth Eruption." 2002. pp. 1-3.
  26. ^ Harris, Edward F. Craniofacial Growth and Development. In the section entitled "Tooth Eruption." 2002. p. 3.
  27. ^ Harris, Edward F. Craniofacial Growth and Development. In the section entitled "Tooth Eruption." 2002. p. 5.
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  • Ash, Major M. and Stanley J. Nelson, 2003. Wheeler’s Dental Anatomy, Physiology, and Occlusion. 8th edition. ISBN 0-7216-9382-2.
  • Cate, A.R. Ten. (1998) Oral Histology: development, structure, and function. 5th ed.
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External links

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

TEETH (O.E. te]9; plural of tooth, O.E. top), the modified papillae or elevations of the mucous membrane of the mouth, impregnated with lime salts. Each tooth has a biting part or crown covered by enamel, a neck where the gum surrounds it, and one or more roots or fangs fitting into sockets (alveoli) in the jaw bone. For surgery of the teeth see Dentistry.

There are thirty-two permanent teeth in man, sixteen in the upper and sixteen in the lower jaw; they are also arranged in symmetrical sets of eight teeth on each side. The two teeth on each side of the mid-line in front are " incisors " and have chisel-shaped crowns. The mesial or central incisor of the upper jaw is broader than any of the others, consequently it bites against the central and lateral incisors of the lower jaw, and the same want of exact adaptation continues throughout the series, so that every tooth in the upper jaw except the last molar bites against its corresponding tooth of the lower jaw and the tooth behind that.

Next to the incisors comes the " canine tooth," the crown of which is somewhat peg-shaped, while behind this are the two " premolars " or " bicuspids," whose crowns are flattened from before backward and bear two cusps, the larger of which znd molar molar molar Central incisor Canine 2nd premolar 2nd molar From Ambrose Birmingham, in Cunningham's FIG. I. - The Permanent Teeth of the Right Side, Inner or Lingual Aspect.

The upper row shows the upper teeth, the lower row the lower teeth cingulum is distinct on the upper incisors and both canines, the cusp on the upper lateral incisor and the upper canine.

is the external or labial cusp, while the smaller is the internal or lingual. As a rule there is a single root, though sometimes in the first upper premolar it is double.

The three " molars " are placed behind the premolars, and the upper and lower sets can be easily distinguished because the upper have three roots while the lower have only two. Of the three roots which the upper molars bear two are lateral or external and one mesial (see fig. r), so that it is easy to tell the outer from the inner side of an upper molar. The front can, as a rule, be identified by the fact that the roots are generally bent a little backward at their tips, and this applies to other teeth than the upper molars. In the lower jaw, owing to the two fangs being anteroposterior, it is not possible to tell the lateral from the mesial surface of the molars by them, although the backward inclination of their tips shows the front from the back. When it is remembered that the upper teeth overlap the lower externally it is reasonable to expect that the lower molars would show some rounding due to wearing away of the edge of the crown on the outer side, and this is the case. The grinding surface of the crowns of the upper molars shows three or four cusps, while on that of the lower four or five are found.

Of the three molars the first is the largest, and the third, or wisdom tootle, the smallest, while the upper wisdom tooth is smaller than the lower.

In the " milk teeth " or temporary dentition of the child there are only twenty teeth, ten in each jaw and five in each segment. They are two incisors, one canine, and two so-called molars. These molars occupy the position which the permanent premolars later on take, and it is held by many that the adult molars really belong to the milk dentition, although they cannot appear until the jaw has grown backward sufficiently far to make room for them. The temporary teeth differ from the permanent in their smaller size, their whiter colour, the greater constriction of their necks, and in the fact that the roots of the molars are widely splayed.

The dates at which the milk teeth are cut are very variable. The lower central incisors come first between the sixth and ninth month, or even later; then, after a 'few months, come the central and lateral upper incisors; again a few months' rest and the lower lateral incisors appear, followed closely by the first molars. After another rest of four or five months come the canines, the eruption of which is a slow process, while by about the end of the second year molar the second molars have appeared, and the milk dentition is complete. It will be seen from the above that the milk teeth are cut in batches with resting intervals between.

As C. S. Tomes points out, we do not know what causes the eruption of the teeth; the growth of the roots is not of itself enough to account for it. It is possible, however, that blood-pressure may be the determining cause. The first permanent tooth to be cut is the first molar, and this happens during or soon after the sixth year. It does not displace any of the milk teeth, but comes down behind the second milk molar. During the seventh year the central milk incisors fall out and their place is taken by the permanent ones; the shed teeth are mere shells of the crown, all the root having been absorbed, though not, as might be thought, owing to direct pressure of the succeeding tooth.

The lateral incisors succeed their milk predecessors at molar about eight years old, the first premolar takes the place of the first temporary molar about nine, the second premolar that of the second temporary molar about ten, the canine about eleven, while the second molar comes down behind the first about twelve, and so is known as the " twelve-year-old tooth." The third molar, or wisdom tooth, usually appears between eighteen and twenty, but may be much later, indeed it is sometimes never cut at all, and when it is, it often does not come down to a level with the other teeth. It is believed that man is gradually undergoing a suppression of his last molar teeth, which, if the process continue, will lead to our successors having a different dental formula from our own. It is interesting to notice that 1st molar Canine Lateral incisor Central incisor Central incisor Lateral incisor Canine 1st molar From Ambrose Birmingham, in Cunningham's FIG. 2. - The Milk Teeth of the Left Side.

The masticating surfaces of the two upper molars are shown above. In the second row the upper teeth are viewed from the outer or labial side. In the third row the lower teeth are shown in a similar manner; and below are the masticating surfaces of the two lower molars. In the specimen from which the first upper molar was drawn the two outer or buccal cusps were not distinctly separated, as is often the case.

Missing image
Missing image

50 ? ?

in some of the lower races of mankind the last molar tooth is nearly as large as those in front of it, and this is the case in the anthropoid apes. A. Keith and D. Braden Kyle have pointed out that the second and third molar teeth are successively formed in the posterior wall of the maxillary antrum 3rd 3rd. The lingual Central incisor Canine: and premolar Lateral incisor k 1 st premolar Lateral and molar crown 2nd molar crown and their crowns look backward. It is owing to the gradual growth backward of this antrum and the maxilla that they are rotated round a quarter of a circle and so at last look downward (see A. Keith, British Journal of Dental Science, vol. xlv., June 16, 1902).

Extra teeth are occasionally met with in the incisor, premolar and molar regions; their significance will be better realized after the embryology and comparative anatomy of the subject have been sketched.

For an accurate and detailed description of man's teeth see A Manual of Dental Anatomy, by C. S. Tomes, London, 1904. 1904.


If a section be made vertically through a tooth all the exposed part or crown is seen to be covered with enamel, which, microscopically, is composed of a number of fine hexagonal prisms arranged at right angles to the surface of the tooth, and formed chiefly of calcium phosphate with small amounts of calcium carbonate, magnesium phosphate and calcium fluoride, but containing practically no organic matter. The enamel rests on the " dentine," of which hard yet elastic substance by far the greater part of the tooth is composed. It is made of the same salts as the enamel, but contains in addition a good deal of organic matter and forms a structureless mass through which the fine " dentinal tubes " run from the pulp cavity to the periphery.

Surrounded by the dentine is the " pulp cavity," which is filled by the tooth pulp, a highly vascular and nervous mass of branched connective tissue cells, which, in a young tooth, has a layer of epithelial cells, the " odontoblasts, " lying close against the wall of the cavity and forming new dentine. Slender processes (" Tomes's fibrils ") project from these cells into the dentinal tubes, and are probably sensory. A nerve and a%tery enter the apex of the root of the tooth, but it is not understood how the nerve ends.

Surrounding the dentine where it is not covered by enamel is the " cement " or " crusta petrosa," a thin layer of bone which is only separated from the bony socket by the alveolar periosteum.


The lip is marked off from the rest of the mouth region by a " lip groove," which, in the case of the lower jaw, grows obliquely downward and backward, and the mass of ectodermal cells bounding it penetrates for some distance into the surrounding mesoderm below the bottom of the groove. This is known as the " tooth band." On the under surface of this oblique tooth band (still taking the lower jaw), and close to its edge, appear ten thickenings, below each of which the mesoderm rises up into a " dental papilla," and so moulds the thickening into a cap for itself - the " enamel organ." The superficial cells of the dental papilla become the " odontoblasts " and manufacture the dentine, while those cells of the cap (enamel organ) which are on its concave surface and therefore nearest the dental papilla are called " ameloblasts," and form the enamel. The cutting or grinding part of the tooth is first formed, and the crown gradually closes round the dental papilla, so that at last, when the root is formed, the central part of the papilla remains as the pulp cavity surrounded by dentine except at the apex of the root. The roots, however, are formed slowly, and as a rule are not complete until some time after the tooth is cut. The mesoblastic connective tissue surrounding the developing tooth becomes condensed into a fibrous bag which is called the tooth-sac, and round this the lower jaw grows to form the alveolus. The crusta petrosa which covers the root is developed from the tooth-sac. It will therefore be seen that, of the various structures which make up a tooth, the enamel is derived from the ectoderm, while the dentine, pulp and crusta petrosa or cement are mesodermal.

So far only the milk dentition of the lower jaw has been accounted for.

Returning to the tooth band, it was noticed that the enamel organs were formed not at the extreme edge but a little way from it. From the extreme edge, which, it will be remembered, points inward toward the tongue, the permanent tooth germs are derived, and it is therefore clear that the permanent teeth must come up on the lingual side of their milk predecessors.

For further details and literature see Dental Anatomy, by C. S. Tomes, London, 1904; and Development of the Human Body, by J. P. McM urrich, London, 1906.

Comparative Anatomy.

The details of the teeth vary so greatly in different animals and groups of animals, and, on account of their being the most durable tissues 9 f the body, are so important for classificatory purposes, that they are dealt with freely in the various zoological articles. All that can be done here is to give a broad general survey of the subject, taking the details of man's dentition, already set forth, as a point of departure.

In some fishes the teeth are continuous over the edges of the jaws with the scales on the surface of the body, and there is no doubt that teeth should be regarded as modified scales which have migrated into the mouth.

In the Cyclostomata (lampreys and hags) the teeth are horny cones, but beneath them there are papillae of the mesoderm covered with ectoderm which resemble the dental papillae and enamel organs although no calcification occurs except in Bdellostoma. In the Elasmobranchii (cartilaginous fishes) the teeth are arranged in several rows, and as those of the front row fall out the hinder row take their place; sometimes they are triangular and very sharp as in the sharks, sometimes flattened and arranged like a pavement for crushing as in rays. These teeth only represent the crowns of man's teeth, and they are not embedded in sockets except in the case of the teeth in the saw of the saw-fish (Pristis); moreover the dentine of which they are largely composed resembles bone and fills up the whole pulp cavity. From its structure it is known as osteodentine. In the Teleostomi (teleostean and ganoid fishes) there is great variability; sometimes, as in the sturgeon, there are no teeth at all, while at others every bone bounding the mouth, including the branchial arches, bears teeth. As an example of a very full tooth armature the pike's mouth and pharynx may be instanced. Both in the pike and the hake hinged teeth occur; these bend backward during the passage of prey down the throat, but are re-erected by elastic ligaments. As a rule, the dentine of the Teleostomi is of the variety already described as osteodentine, but sometimes, as in the hake, it is vascular and is known as vasodentine.

In the Amphibia teeth are not so numerous as in the fishes, though like them they are not confined to the jaws, since vomerine teeth are very constant. The toad is edentulous, while the frog has no teeth in the lower jaw. An extinct order of tailed amphibians, the Stegocephali, are often called labyrinthodonts on account of the complex way in which the enamel is involuted into the interior of the teeth. Amphibians' teeth are usually anchylosed to the jaw, that is to say, directly united by bone.

In the Reptilia many and various arrangements of the teeth are found. In the Chelonia (turtles) there are no teeth, although the ectodermal ingrowth (dental band) from which they are developed in other animals is present in the embryo. The place of the teeth in these reptiles is taken by horny jaw-cases.

Missing image

In the Ophidia the non-poisonous snakes have two rows of teeth in the upper jaw, one on the maxillae and another on the palatine and pterygoid bones, while in the lower jaw there is only one row. These teeth are sharp pegs anchylosed to the bones and so strongly recurved that one of these snakes would be unable, even if it wished Enamel Dentine Pulp cavity Guts Done Cement or Alveolar periosteum crustapetrosa or root-membrane From Ambrose Birmingham, in Cunningham's Text-Book of Anatomy. FIG. 3. - Vertical Section of Canine Tooth, to illustrate its various parts, and its structure.

to do so, to let any prey which had once entered its mouth escape. The poisonous snakes have a special poison fang in the maxilla of each side; these have a deep groove or canal running down them which transmits the poison from the poison gland. In the colubrine snakes, such as the cobra, the poison fang is always erect, but in the viperine, such as our own adder and the rattlesnake, there is a mechanism by which the tooth is only erected when the jaws are opened for striking. At other times the teeth lie flat in the roof of the mouth.

In the lizards or Lacertilia the teeth usually consist of a series of pegs in the upper and lower jaw, each resembling the one in front of it; sometimes, as in the chameleon, they are anchylosed by their bases to the bone, but at others, as in the iguana, they are fused by their sides to a ridge of bone which forms a low wall on their lateral surface. In the former case the dentition is spoken of as " acrodont," in the latter as " pleurodont." In the Crocodilia the teeth are fitted into definite sockets as in mammals and are not anchylosed with the jaws. This arrangement is spoken of as " thecodont." Existing birds are toothless, but palaeontology shows that they originally had teeth of a reptilian character.

In all these lower vertebrates, then, the teeth are similar or nearly similar in character; at least they are not divided into definite incisor, canine, premolar and molar regions. Their dentition is therefore known as " homodont." Another characteristic is that in almost all of them there is an arrangement for a continuous succession of teeth, so that when one is lost another from behind takes its place, and to this arrangement the term " polyphyodont " is applied. With a few exceptions a homodont dentition is also polyphyodont.

In the Mammalia the different groups of teeth (incisor, canine, &c.) already noticed in man are found, and these animals are characterized, with some exceptions, by having a " heterodont " as opposed to a homodont dentition. In the mammals too the polyphyodont or continuous succession of teeth is reduced to a " diphyodont " dentition, which means that there is only one relay of teeth to replace the first set. In the marsupials the reduction of the succession is carried still further, for only one premolar in each segment of the jaw is replaced, while in the toothed whales there is no succession at all. When one set has to do duty throughout life the dentition is called " monophyodont." There is a great deal of discussion as to how the complex back teeth of mammals with their numerous cusps were derived from the simple conical teeth which are generally assumed, though not by all, to have been the primitive arrangement. One simple way of accounting for the change is by the concrescence theory, namely that several conical homodont teeth have fused and so formed a single multitubercular tooth; but, although this process may be partly true, it does not account for all the facts at our disposal. Another theory, which is more favoured at the present time, is known as the " tritubercular," and is largely based on the researches of E. D. Cope and H. F. Osborn, two American palaeontologists. According to this theory a simple peg-like, or, as it is called, ' ` haplodont," tooth develops two additional smaller pegs or cones, one in front and one behind the original main cone, possibly owing to the irritation of the teeth against which it bites in the other jaw. This is known as the triconodont stage, and it is found in some of the oldest extinct mammals. As a later adaptation it is found that the two small cones, the anterior of which is called the " paracone " and the posterior the " metacone," become external to the original " protocone " in the upper jaw and internal in the lower.

The surface of the tooth has now a triangular shape with a cone at each angle, and this is the " tritubercular tooth " which is of very common occurrence among the ancestral mammals. Other cusps may be developed later, and so the quadricuspid and quinquecuspid molar teeth of man and other mammals are accounted for. This theory, although in a brief outline it sounds feasible enough, has really many points of difficulty, and those who are interested in the subject will find a fuller account in C. S. Tomes' Dental Anatomy (London, 1904), and in W. L. H. Duckworth's Morphology and Anthropology (Cambridge, 1904), in both of which references to the original literature, which is now very voluminous, are given. Marett Tims (J. Anat. and Phys., vol. xxxvii. p. 131) suggests that the evolution of the mammalian teeth is to be explained partly by the tritubercular and partly by the concrescence theory.

It is impossible, in the space assigned, to give even a brief review of mammalian odontology, but it may clear the ground for the special zoological articles if an attempt is made to define what is meant by the different classes of teeth.

Incisor teeth are those which in the upper jaw have their sockets in the premaxillary bone; they are generally chisel-shaped, and with their opponents of the lower jaw act like scissors. They are specially well marked in the rodents, and in these animals the pulp throughout life continues to form fresh dentine, so that the teeth are ever growing, and it is absolutely necessary for their owners to be continually gnawing in order to wear them away at their cutting edges. The tusks of the elephant and the single tusk of the male narwhal are modified incisors, while in the ruminants the incisor teeth are wanting in the upper jaw.

The canine tooth is the first tooth behind the premaxillo-maxillary suture, provided it be not far behind it; it is almost always the first of the premaxillary series, speaking accurately, which is elongated and sharply pointed. As its name implies it is well marked in dogs and other Carnivora, but is found in many other orders. It is the special offensive and defensive weapon of many mammals, and is greatly developed in some of the ungulates which are without horns, e.g., the musk deer. The tusks of the walrus and wild boar are canines. In many of the Insectivora, especially the mole, the canine is very hard to identify, as in these animals an incisor or a premolar may take on caniniform characters, or there may be no tooth at all with these characters.

The premolar teeth are those in the maxillary bone which are preceded by milk teeth. This definition, of course, includes the canine as a modified premolar, and so it should no doubt be considered, though, if it is desired to keep it distinct, " behind the canine " must be added.

Unfortunately for an accurate definition the first premolar behind the canine is not always preceded by another tooth, and so it becomes an unsettled question whether, in these cases, the tooth is a retained milk tooth or a permanent one which has had no predecessor; it is probable, however, that the latter is the right interpretation.

The molar teeth are those, behind the premolars, which are not preceded by temporary teeth. As was pointed out, in man's dentition they are probably teeth of the first or milk dentition which appear late.

In front of the premolar teeth, and between them and the canine, if it be present, or the incisors, if it be absent, there is often a space called the " diastema." It is best marked in the orders of Rodentia and Ungulata, and in the horse is familiar as the place where the bit lies.

In recording the teeth of any particular mammal it saves time and space if a dental formula be used. This simply means setting down the number of each kind of tooth in one side of the upper and lower jaw in their order from before backward. Thus man's formula would be, incisors 2, canines I, premolars 2, molars 3. This is con densed into Some other types of dental formulae are Catarrhine (old world) monkeys Platyrhine (new world) monkeys Marmosets Most lemurs or Insectivorous bats (full series) (The upper incisors and both premolars may be reduced by one) Frugiverous bats .

(The molars may be reduced) Insectivora (teeth variable and somewhat uncertain) Hedgehog Mole .

(Five different dental formulae have been assigned to this animal) Carnivora Cat family (Felidae) Dog family (Canidae) Bear family (Ursidae) Civet family (Viverridae) Racoon family (Procyonidae) S Hyaena family (Hyaenidae) Weasel family (Mustelidae) Eared seal family (Otariidae) Seal family (Phocidae) Walrus family (Trichechidae), adult In a young animal (probably) 2.1. 3.3 or 2 Hippopotamus Pig family (Suidae). Camel Chevrotain (Tragulidae) Deer family (Cervidae) Hollow-horned ruminants (Bovidae) (0-2).0.4.3 (o -i).(o-1).4.3 (1-2).0.4.3 d. i. i. i. i. c. o. d. m. (3-4) m 3000 (3-4) 3 In this animal there are no premolars, but the milk molars (d.m) and true molars gradually replace one another from before backward throughout life, so that there are never more than two back teeth in each segment of the jaw at any one time.

Rodentia- I.O. (o-I).3 1.0.(o-i).3 Cetacea. - In the living toothed whales (Odontoceti) the dentition is homodont and may be as great as There is every reason to believe, however, that they are derived from heterodont ancestors. In the whalebone whales (Mystacoceti) the teeth are replaced by the whalebone in the adult, but in the embryo slightly calcified teeth are present which are afterwards absorbed.

The homodont dentition of the whales is a retrograde process, and is therefore not comparable to the homodont dentition of the vertebrates below mammals.


The dentition is monophyodont. The manatee has i. a, c. (2, back teeth II. 2 0 II In the Edentata the ant-eaters (Myrmecophagidae) and pangolins (Manidae) are toothless, though the latter have foetal tooth germs. The aard varks (Orycteropodidae) are somewhat heterodont, while the armadillos (Dasypodidae) and sloths (Bradypodidae) have a homodont dentition, which, like that of the whales, is retrogres sive. In the giant armadillo (Priodon gigas) the formula is ?5 This animal therefore has a hundred teeth. In none of the Edentata are the teeth covered with enamel.

In the Marsupialia the typical formula is 3'1'3'4' They are y divided into diprotodont, in which there are not more than 3 incisors, often - 3 in kangaroos, and polyprotodont, in which the incisors are more than 3, as in the Tasmanian wolf (Thylacinus) and Tas` manian devil (Sarcophilus). The marsupial teeth are often regarded as all milk teeth, yet the order is not really monophyodont because the germs of the permanent teeth are formed and aborted. Modern research, however, casts grave doubt on the accuracy of this view.

In the Monotremata the Echidna or spiny ant-eater is quite edentulous, while the duck-mole (Ornithorhynchus) has functional molar teeth in youth, though in the adult these are lost, and their place is taken by horny plates.

Reviewing the various tooth formulae of mammals the following is usually regarded as typical: This, it will be noticed, is the formula of the pig, and it is also that of almost all the Eocene Ungulata. Although the majority of mammals are diphyodont, or, in other words, the working teeth belong to two dentitions, evidences have lately been submitted of vestiges of two other series, one on the labial side of the milk teeth and one on the lingual side of the permanent series. If these are substantiated there would be four dentitions - (i) premilk; (2) milk; (3) permanent; (4) post-permanent. The theory, though it bridges over the gap between the polyphyodont lower vertebrates and the apparently diphyodont mammals, is not by any means established. As the teeth are of such importance in the classification of animals, it will save continually repeated explanations in other articles if some of the chief terms by which they are described are recapitulated and briefly defined here.

i. Acrodont, a tooth which is anchylosed by its base to the summit of a parapet on the jaw.

2. Bilophodont, a molar tooth having two transverse ridges on its grinding surface, as in the tapir.

3. Brachyodont, a low-crowned molar tooth - the opposite of hypsodont.

4. Bunodont, a tooth bearing conical cusps.

5. Diphyodont, having two series of teeth (milk and permanent).

6. Diprotodont, a marsupial with not more than 3 incisors, often only one on each side of the mandible.

7. Haplodont, a tooth having a simple conical crown with a single root.

8. Heterodont, a dentition in which the teeth are not all alike, chiefly characteristic of the Mammalia.

9. Homodont, a dentition in which the teeth are all alike as in many of the lower vertebrates and some mammals.

10. Hypsodont, a high-crowned molar tooth, such as that of the horse, - the opposite to brachydont.

II. Lophodont, a transversely ridged molar tooth; cf. bilophodont.

12. Monophyodont, having only one dentition (cf. diphyand polyphy-odont).

13. Multituberculate, a tooth, the crown of which bears numerous conical cusps; held by some to be the primitive condition of the mammalian teeth.

14. Pleurodont, a tooth anchylosed to the inner side of a parapet on the jaw.

15. Polybunodont, a synonym for multituberculate.

16. Polyphyodont, having an endless succession of teeth, as in most vertebrates below the mammals.

17. Polyprotodont, a marsupial having an incisor formula of more than 3 18. Protodont, a stage met with in fossil mammals which is an advance on the haplodont tooth in that two small cusps are added to the main cone.

19. Secodont, a back tooth adapted to cutting as in many of the Carnivora.

zo. Selenodont, a molar tooth with crescentic ridges on its grinding surface as in most ruminants.

21. Thecodont, a tooth embedded in a socket or alveolus, as in mammals.

22. Triconodont, a fossil stage in advance of the protodont. There are three well-marked cones in an antero-posterior line.

23. Tritubercular, a fossil stage succeeding the triconodont. The main cone is external in the lower teeth and internal in the upper. A very common form of back tooth in fossil forms and one which gives its name to the " tritubercular theory." (F. G. P.)

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From BibleWiki

one of the particulars regarding which retaliatory punishment was to be inflicted (Ex 21:24; Lev 24:20; Deut 19:21).

"Gnashing of teeth" =rage, despair (Mt 8:12; Acts 7:54);

"cleanness of teeth" =famine (Amos 4:6);

"children's teeth set on edge" =children suffering for the sins of their fathers (Ezek 18:2).

This entry includes text from Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897.

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