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Reawakening of ancestral dental potential as a mechanism to explain dental pathologies

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Maria hovorakova, Oldrich Zahradnicek, Martin Bartos, Pavel Hurnik, Jiri Stransky, J Stembírek, Abigail Tucker

Original languageEnglish
Article numberICB-2020-0001.R1
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 16 Mar 2020

King's Authors


During evolution there has been a trend to reduce both the number of teeth and the location where they are found within the oral cavity. In mammals the formation of teeth is restricted to a horseshoe band of odontogenic tissue, creating a single dental arch on the top and bottom of the jaw. Additional teeth and structures containing dental tissue, such as odontogenic tumours or cysts, can appear as pathologies. These tooth-like structures can be associated with the normal dentition, appearing within the dental arch, or in non-dental areas. The aetiology of these pathologies is not well elucidated. Reawakening of the potential to form teeth in different parts of the oral cavity could explain the origin of dental pathologies outside the dental arch, thus such pathologies are a consequence of our evolutionary history. In this review we look at the changing pattern of tooth formation within the oral cavity during vertebrate evolution, the potential to form additional tooth-like structures in mammals, and discuss how this knowledge shapes our understanding of dental pathologies in humans.

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