The 81st Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2012)

A regression method for the timing of micro enamel defects


School of Natural Science, Hampshire College

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Previous studies of the age at formation of enamel micro defects (Wilson bands) have employed methods that often fail to account for hidden cuspal enamel, use older developmental standards, a standard tooth size, and an assumption of constant velocity. Here, we use a method that attempts to correct for these limitations, the most important being updating the choice of developmental standard and the assumption of constant growth velocity.

Crown heights were measured and enamel micro defects were identified and their locations measured at the dentine-enamel junction (DEJ) for 97 unworn canines from the New York African Burial Ground. The percentage of enamel formation at the enamel micro defect was used to determine its age at formation based on a three phase regression equation fitting the histologically determined canine development pattern found by Reid and Dean (2000). The age at formation of micro defects was compared to results obtained from older methods. All methods yielded similar peak frequencies at around three years of age. However, the new method has a much more pronounced central tendency and conversely lower frequencies of micro-defects at early and later developmental ages. The difference in shape of the distribution of enamel micro defects is most likely due to taking into account varying growth velocity in the formation of canine dental enamel.

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