Tooth wear development in the Australian Aboriginal dentition from Yuendumu: A longitudinal study.

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    • Abstract:
      The analysis of dental wear, at both the microscopic and macroscopic scale, is one of the most widely used tools in archeology and anthropology to reconstruct the diet and lifestyle of past human populations. Biomechanical studies have indicated that tooth wear helps to dissipate the mechanical load over the crown surface, thus reducing the risk of tooth fracture. To date, there are only a few studies that have examined functional tooth wear variation in modern humans. Here we propose to study masticatory efficiency through the use of the Occlusal Fingerprint Analysis method, a well-developed digital approach that allows the reconstruction of the occlusal dynamics occurring during mastication. The aim of this study is to provide the first longitudinal quantitative data of molar and premolar macrowear patterns within a functional context. We examined the mixed and permanent dentition of one Australian Aboriginal child (from ages 8 to 17) from Yuendumu, using high-resolution surface scans of dental casts including both upper and lower arches. Our results suggest that the occlusal macrowear patterns of this individual did not significantly change through time. Occlusal contact parameters such as functional area, inclination and direction remain relatively unaltered throughout childhood and adolescence, indicating little change in the masticatory function of this individual. The functional tooth wear pattern in this individual did not change longitudinally indicating the degree of masticatory efficiency has most probably remained unaltered. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
    • Abstract:
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