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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 12  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 216-224

Pathological signatures of identity in Ajnala skeletal remains: A forensic dentistry investigation

1 Department of Anthropology, Panjab University, Chandigarh, India
2 General Dentistry, H.S. Judge Institute of Dental Sciences, Panjab University, Chandigarh, India

Correspondence Address:
Jagmahender Singh Sehrawat
Department of Anthropology, Panjab University, Chandigarh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/IJDS.IJDS_50_20

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Background: Teeth can reveal important information about an individual's lifestyle, sex, occupation, ethnicity, pollutant exposures, dietary status and identity. The analysis of skeletal or dental remains can lay emphasis on the social, health and disease/illnesses status of individuals or the community health. Aims and Objectives: In this study, an attempt was made to estimate the pathological status and possible lifestyle of the individuals whose dental remains were excavated from an abandoned well in Ajnala, India. These individuals were subjected to a mass burial in the year 1857 and thereafter a religious structure was built on top of the disused well. Materials and Methods: The excavated teeth were segregated into different tooth types on the basis of their identifying anatomical features and they were further examined for the wear (according to the Smith and Knights wear criteria) as well as caries (into pit and fissure and deep caries) rates. The pathological status of 3533 (1853 maxillary and 1680 mandibular teeth) avulsed teeth of all types was analysed and results were presented in the textual, tabular and graphical forms. Results: Out of total 3533 teeth examined in this study, 97% had undergone wear of some sort; the majority of the teeth were having Grade '0' wear and the Grade III wear were minimal. It was also observed that the prevalence of pit and fissure caries was higher as compared to the deep caries. Discussion and Conclusions: The low frequency of caries in Ajnala teeth can be attributed to the consumption of a diet low in sugars. As the buried individuals were reportedly army recruits who might had sound health and good oral hygiene prior to being eligible for undergoing a rigorous recruitment process; the negligible percentages of wear and caries in Ajnala teeth may be self-explanatory about their military affiliations.

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