Brief communication: The timing of linear hypoplasias on human anterior teeth

Shawn W. Carlyle, Ryan L. Parr, M. Geoffrey Hayes, Dennis H. O'Rourke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

129 Scopus citations


One hundred and fifteen unworn anterior teeth were sectioned longitudinally with a diamond saw and prepared for histological examination by polarized light microscopy. Incremental markings in the enamel of each tooth were used to estimate the average total crown formation times of each tooth type. The total time taken to form the crowns of each tooth type was apportioned by 1) cuspal enamel formation and 2) each tenth percentile of total tooth height. Based on these data, and on histological estimates for the time of initiation of mineralization in each anterior tooth, the following conclusions can be drawn. Little if any visible surface enamel is likely to form before the end of the first year after birth in any anterior tooth type. No relation exists between tooth crown height and the total time taken to form enamel. Anterior crown formation is nonlinear and slows towards the cervix in all teeth. The estimated mean chronological age at crown completion ranged in this study from between around 4 years for lower central incisors to around 6 years for lower canines. We suggest that these combined findings will be useful for devising more reliable ways to estimate the timing of linear enamel hypoplasias than some methods currently in use. (C) 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)135-139
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Physical Anthropology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2000


  • Cross striations
  • Enamel hypoplasia
  • Incremental markings

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Anatomy


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