Multiple supernumerary teeth in a likely syndromic individual from prehistoric Illinois

Lita Sacks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objective: This paper reports the first published case of a prehistoric human with five or more supernumerary teeth. Such cases are often neglected in paleopathology, in part due to a gap between the medicodental and anthropological literature leading to the view in anthropology that supernumerary teeth are curious anomalies rather than pathologies. Design: Reconstruction and pathological description of the skeletal remains were performed according to standard osteological protocols. Each supernumerary tooth was categorized based on its morphology, location, and orientation. The dental characteristics of the individual were compared to published norms for incidences of syndromic and non-syndromic supernumerary teeth and a differential diagnosis was subsequently performed. Results: Six supernumerary teeth and one deciduous tooth were identified. Additionally, the individual suffered from impacted teeth, dilacerated roots, and extensive sutural anomalies (including retention of the metopic suture into adulthood and an unusually high number of sutural bones). The morphology and location of the supernumerary teeth, in conjunction with the suite of other symptoms, are highly unusual among non-syndromic patients and therefore are indicative of a complex genetic disorder. Conclusions: The individual reported here almost certainly suffered from a genetic disorder or syndrome resulting in extensive dental and sutural abnormalities. Despite a lack of post-cranial involvement, a tentative diagnosis of Cleidocranial Dysplasia was made on the basis that mutations in the RUNX2 gene may cause the dental symptoms without any pathology of the clavicle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)100-106
Number of pages7
JournalArchives of Oral Biology
StatePublished - Sep 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Cleidocranial dysplasia
  • Dental anthropology
  • Dental pathology
  • Supernumerary teeth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Dentistry(all)
  • Cell Biology


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