A report on the high incidence of supernumerary teeth in skeletal remains from a 19th century mining community from Kimberley, South Africa.

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INTRODUCTION: Supernumerary teeth can be described as the presence of more than 20 deciduous, or 32 permanent teeth in one individual. This condition occurs in 0.1% - 3.7% of individuals within most populations. AIM: The purpose of this study was to examine the incidence of hyperdontia in a 19th century mining community from Kimberley. MATERIALS AND METHODS: The Sol Plaatjie municipality disturbed several unmarked graves outside the fenced Gladstone cemetery in Kimberley, South Africa. The remains belonged to mine workers and other individuals who died in the Kimberley and surrounding hospitals between 1897 and 1900. The well preserved teeth of 76 adult males and 13 adult females were examined and counted. RESULTS: Supernumerary teeth were documented in 6.7% (N = 6) of the study population. This was high when considering the incidence of this condition in other population groups. Two of the seven individuals affected by the condition presented with multiple non-syndromal supernumerary teeth. CONCLUSION: The Gladstone sample population was mostly composed of migrant workers, and it is proposed that, although several factors may influence the development of supernumerary teeth, the possibility of a genetic relationship between some of these individuals should be considered to be responsible for the high incidence of hyperdontia in this sample.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)162, 164-166
JournalSADJ : journal of the South African Dental Association = tydskrif van die Suid-Afrikaanse Tandheelkundige Vereniging
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - May 2009

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