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5 - DENTAL DISEASE

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 June 2012

Simon Hillson
Affiliation:
University College London
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Summary

Disease is an abnormality in the structure or function of the body. The definition of ‘abnormal’ is difficult. On the one hand, all animals show extensive variation in size, shape and physiology. What is normal? On the other hand, some diseases are so common that almost all individuals show some sign of them. Do these still qualify as diseases? Allowance has therefore to be made for a normal range of variation that does not lead to impairment of function but, once a structure or process cannot operate efficiently, it is considered to be in a state of disease. The process through which a disease is caused is known as its aetiology, and the site at which an abnormality occurs is known as a lesion. This may only be a chemical change. It may be confined to soft tissue, or it may involve widespread hard tissue destruction and repair. Usually, the bone and dental tissues that are preserved in archaeology represent only one part of the lesion. The rest has to be reconstructed and this makes diagnosis difficult. This chapter includes dental caries, periodontal disease, periapical inflammation and injuries. It does not include the defects of enamel hypoplasia even though, if they are pronounced, they may predispose to caries or tooth fracture, because they are dealt with in Chapter 2.

Disease is part of ecology. It represents the impact of the environment and the body's reaction to it. This makes disease a very useful source of information in archaeology.

Type
Chapter
Information
Teeth , pp. 286 - 318
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2005

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  • DENTAL DISEASE
  • Simon Hillson, University College London
  • Book: Teeth
  • Online publication: 05 June 2012
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511614477.007
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  • DENTAL DISEASE
  • Simon Hillson, University College London
  • Book: Teeth
  • Online publication: 05 June 2012
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511614477.007
Available formats
×

Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

  • DENTAL DISEASE
  • Simon Hillson, University College London
  • Book: Teeth
  • Online publication: 05 June 2012
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511614477.007
Available formats
×