Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 May 2013
The major components and phases of development needed to form a mature dentition are identified and outlined. This information is then examined against the general characteristics of Complex Adaptive Systems. It is concluded that the dentition in development and maturity has the characteristics of a Self Adaptive and Self Organising Complex System. This exploration provides the basis for future investigations of this model.
The dentition, both in development and in maturity, is an intricate system of multiple interacting components. But is it a complex rather than a complicated system? We consider a Complex System to be a dynamic system in which interacting components at a lower level give rise to higher level emergent phenomena, whereas in a complicated system the various elements maintain a degree of independence from one another. Fortunately, in examining this question about the dentition there is much hard data now available concerning the molecular, cellular, soft tissue and mature mineralised components. The aim of this paper is to examine key characteristics of the dentition in development and its mature form against the characteristics of a Complex Adaptive System. Our method is to:
Identify and outline the major components and phases of development of the dentition into a mature functioning system.
Examine this information against the recognised general characteristics of Complex Adaptive Systems.