The practice of using dentition to chronologically age human skeletal remains is split into two halves, depending on the whether the skeleton is that of a subadult or adult. This blog post is going to discuss using dentition to age subadults.
Due to the abundance of teeth found in many archaeological, forensic, paleontological, and anthropological contexts and because of the regular tooth formation and eruption times, dental development is the most widely used technique for aging subadult remains. As stated in my previous blog post, several elements of the human skeleton begin the stages of epiphyseal fusion alongside the conclusion of tooth eruption; these two techniques (dentition and epiphyseal closure) are often used complementary to each other to help age sub-adults. When it comes to subadult tooth emergence there are four stages:
Stage 1 is where most of the deciduous teeth, commonly referred to as ‘milk teeth’, emerge during the second year of life.
Stage 2, during this stage the two permanent incisors and the first permanent molar emerge, this stage typically occurs between the age of six and eight years.
Stage 3, occurs between the age of ten and twelve and it involves the emergence of the permanent canines, premolars, and second molars.
Stage 4, or the final stage involves the third molar emerging around the age of eighteen years.
When looking at dentition you must look at all aspects of emergence and not just at the fully erupted tooth, which includes the completeness of all roots and crowns (formation) and the position of each tooth relative to the alveolar margin (eruption).
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