Periapical lesions and dental wear in the early Maori
MetadataShow full item record
Dental wear and intrabony lesions were evaluated in a sample of 225 skulls (136 male) of pre-contact New Zealand Maoris. The degree and direction of surface wear was scored according to the method of Molnar (Molnar 1971. Human tooth wear, tooth function and cultural variability. American Journal of Physical Anthropology34: 175–190) and revealed severe surface loss in both males and females with horizontal wear being the dominant pattern (62.4% male, 57.5% female). The width of coronal tissue above the pulp chamber, as well as the maximum depth and width of periapical lesions, was measured from both standard radiographs and digital images. The high prevalence of periapical pathology in the Maori underlined the extreme nature of dental wear in these people. It is postulated that this degree of tooth loss may be attributable to a change in diet from large birds to marine-dependence, the introduction of the kumara to New Zealand, dental erosion and finally, to the excessive masticatory forces exerted by a robust facial complex on normally sized teeth. Fenestrated lesions were highly prevalent (83% of skulls) and were centered mostly on the maxilla, with an even distribution among tooth classes. The finding of periapical lesions in teeth with minimal observable wear was attributed to traumatic occlusion.
International Journal of Osteoarchaeology