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Visual and Radiographic Assessment of Dental Caries by Osteologists: A Validity and Reliability Study.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies, Osteoarchaeological Research Laboratory. (Osteoarkeologiska forskningslaboratoriet)
Karolinska institutet, Institutionen för odontologi.
Karolinska institutet, Institutionen för arkeologi och antikens kultur.
2011 (English)In: International journal of osteoarchaeology, ISSN 1047-482X, E-ISSN 1099-1212, Vol. 21, no 1, 55-65 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In the skeletal remains of earlier populations, the presence and severity of dental caries preserves evidence about general health and diet. The quality of the data collected on dental caries is highly dependent on the diagnostic skills of the examining osteologist. A major barrier to more detailed data is reliance on visual inspection only. The present study compared quantification of carious lesions by osteologists, using both visual and radiographic inspection. Four osteologists with varying experience of caries diagnosis registered the presence and extent of dental caries on the crown and root surfaces of 61 teeth sourced from three different samples: Archaeological, Anthropological and Modern. The teeth were subsequently sectioned to provide a control or standard reference. The interobserver differences were calculated as sensitivity (observer correctness in identifying teeth with caries disease). The two observers with more experience of dental paleopathology showed higher agreement with the standard reference than the other two observers, i.e. they correctly diagnosed more carious lesions. The most pronounced interobserver difference was for radiographic inspection of root surfaces. The recordings by the two experienced observers conformed much more closely with the standard reference than those of the less experienced observers. The results confirm that experience has a major influence on practical observations in dental paleopathology. The quality of collected data on dental caries could be enhanced by improving osteologists’ knowledge of the disease process and the application of uniform, unambiguous criteria for registration of carious lesions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Wiley , 2011. Vol. 21, no 1, 55-65 p.
National Category
Archaeology
Research subject
Osteoarchaeology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-29873DOI: 10.1002/oa.1107ISI: 000287163100009OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-29873DiVA: diva2:235747
Note
authorCount :3Available from: 2009-09-17 Created: 2009-09-17 Last updated: 2017-12-13Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Oral Disease and Health Patterns: Dental and Cranial Paleopathology of the Early Iron Age Population at Smörkullen in Alvastra, Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Oral Disease and Health Patterns: Dental and Cranial Paleopathology of the Early Iron Age Population at Smörkullen in Alvastra, Sweden
2010 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In skeletal remains of ancient populations, evidence of dental and craniofacial pathology is often well preserved in the form of lesions on the teeth or bones. Meticulous, detailed recording of these lesions provides baseline data on which a realistic assessment can be made of the probable impact of dental diseases and its sequelae on health of these earlier populations.

In the present thesis, dental and cranial pathology were recorded in the remains of an Iron Age population, with special reference to the possible impact of such conditions on general health and well-being. The skeletal remains had been excavated early last century from the burial ground Smörkullen, Alvastra, Östergötland, in Eastern Central Sweden: osteological analyses showed that the material comprised the remains of 65 subadult individuals and 104 adult individuals of both sexes. The dental status of most of the adult individuals was poor. Calculus, periodontitis, moderate and severe carious lesions and periapical infections were recorded. In contrast, subadult showed less evidence of dental disease. The results indicate that the perception of health in adults was probably negatively affected by their poor oral status. The dental status of subadults, on the other hand, was unlikely to have had a negative impact on their general well-being. A sex difference was observed in the material, males tending to more ongoing disease than females. Overall, the frequencies of both dental and cranial pathologies increased with age.

Caries frequency in the material was noticeable higher than in numerous other studies in Scandinavian populations. Although the high caries rates at Smörkullen may be attributable to a diet rich in carbohydrates, the result may to some extent have been influenced by observer experience. Caries rates in other populations are likely to be under-estimated in comparison with Smörkullen. However, methodological factors alone cannot not explain all the observed differences.

The recording of cranial pathologies disclosed malnutrition and upper respiratory problems in all age groups in the Smörkullen material. This most certainly affected their well-being. In some cases the pathology observed was directly associated with life-threatening conditions. Analyses of combinations of pathologies suggest that a combination of linear enamel hypoplasias and cribra orbitalia, mainly observed in those who died before the age of fifteen, may have been related to a lower probability of survival. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies Stockholm University, 2010. 96 p.
Series
Theses and papers in osteoarchaeology, ISSN 1652-4098 ; 6
Keyword
Smörkullen, Alvastra, Sweden, Early Iron Age, dental disease, cranial lesion, caries diagnostics, pathways of infections, dietary patterns, environment, health
National Category
Archaeology
Research subject
Osteoarchaeology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-37301 (URN)978-91-7447-011-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2010-03-26, De Geersalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 14, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note
At the time of doctoral defence the following publications were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 1: manuscript. Paper 2: manuscript. Paper 3: manuscript.Available from: 2010-03-04 Created: 2010-02-22 Last updated: 2010-12-09Bibliographically approved

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