Prevalence of oral pathologic findings in an ancient pre-Columbian archeologic site in the Atacama Desert


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Abstract

OBJECTIVE:To determine the prevalence of oral pathologic findings in an ancient culture that inhabited the Atacama Desert.MATERIALS AND METHODS:A systematic examination was performed on the remains of 83 individuals unearthed from a prehistoric burial ground. A total of 57 skeletal remains achieved appropriate inclusion criteria, from which estimated age at death, gender, ante- and postmortem tooth loss, prevalence and location of caries, apical periodontitis sequela, alveolar bone resorption and attrition were recorded.RESULTS:From the analyzed skeletal remains (13 male, 22 female and 22 not identifiable), the mean age estimated was 29.9 ± 13.8 years. A total of 89.4% of them presented permanent dentition with a mean ante-mortem tooth loss of 9.0 teeth and a postmortem mean tooth loss of 14.4 teeth per subject. In all, 46.4% of the postmortem remaining permanent teeth (n = 237) showed caries lesions. Interproximal caries was most frequently observed (31.5%), followed by occlusal (25.9%) and cervical caries (19.4%). Root remnants were found in 23.1% of the cases. In addition, 58.0% of the adults presented attrition, 26.0% signs of apical periodontitis and 44.0% loss of alveolar bone support >5 mm.CONCLUSION:The remains of jaws and teeth of the individuals examined in this study presented sequelae of severe oral health damage due to caries and periodontal disease.Oral Diseases (2009) 15, 287–294

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