Dentistry Publications


Maxillary molar root and canal morphology of Neolithic and modern Chinese

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Archives of Oral Biology



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Objective: This study aimed to characterize Neolithic human maxillary molars from archeological remains at the Jiaojia site, Shandong, China, and compare their ultrastructural features with sex and age-matched modern locals. Design: Maxillary first (n = 86) and second (n = 80) molars in 5000-year-old individuals (n = 50) from the Jiaojia site were scanned by cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT). Sex and age-matched control groups were assigned from oral surgical patients at Shandong University. Images were analyzed for crown size, root length, root morphology, canal inter-orifice distances, mesiobuccal canal morphology, and second mesiobuccal (MB2) canal prevalence and location. Neolithic and modern values were compared statistically using Chi-squared and Mann-Whitney test at p < .05. Results: Crown and root size were smaller, and canal inter-orifice distances were shorter in Neolithic maxillary molars than their modern counterparts. For mesiobuccal roots, Weine's Type I single canals were the most prevalent in Neolithic and modern first and second molars. MB2 canal prevalence were not significantly different (p > .05) in Neolithic (53.3%) or modern (60.5%) first molars, and Neolithic (11.3%) or modern (21.3%) second molars. But, MB2 prevalence was significantly higher for modern than ancient male first (p = .032) and second (p = .005) molars. Additionally, MB2 were located more mesially and closer to MB1 in Neolithic than modern molars. Conclusions: Maxillary molar root and canal morphology of ancient 5000-year-old remains at the Jiaojia site resemble that of local patients. A trend towards larger tooth size, and more dispersed MB2 canals over this short evolutionary period warrants additional investigation.

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