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Mandibular molar C-shaped root canals in 5th millennium BC China

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Archives of Oral Biology



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Objective: The aim of this study was to analyze the occurrence and variations in C-shaped canals in ancient Chinese teeth and compare the differences of these features between ancient and age-matched modern populations. Design: Approximately 5000-year-old craniofacial bone remains were collected from the fossils of 38 individuals (total: 68 mandibular second molars) excavated from the Jiaojia site. The control group comprised of an equal number of randomly selected modern samples. We used cone-beam computed tomography to scan the mandible along the apex-crown axis and analyzed the canal morphology, based on Fan's categorization criterion, at 2 mm, 5 mm, and 8 mm to the apical level. Grooves on the lingual and buccal sides were also recorded. Results: The proportion of C-shaped roots among ancient samples on the left and right sides were 48.57 % (17/35 teeth) and 54.55 % (18/33 teeth), respectively, and 51.47 % (35/68 teeth) in the total sample. Conversely, in the control group, 44.12 % (15/34) and 38.24 % (13/34) occurred on the left and right sides, respectively, and 41.18 % (28/68) in the total sample. Among the C-shaped canals from the Jiaojia site samples, the classification type changed between two adjacent levels in 84.31 % of samples. Approximately 35 (51.5 %) teeth had a fused root, 20 (29.41 %) had one shallow buccal and one deep lingual groove. The occurrence of C-shape variation was not significantly correlated with time (p>0.05). Conclusions: This study identified a high rate of C-shaped root canals among individuals of Jiaojia who lived approximately 5000 years ago.

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