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Abstract

True generalized microdontia in a subadult skeleton is described. The bones, dating from the Middle Ages, were excavated at Alborg, Denmark. True generalized microdontia is an extremely rare condition characterized by well-formed teeth with crowns smaller than two times the standard deviation from the population means. Both the deciduous and permanent teeth are involved. The dimensions of the few fragmentary bones were compared with those of medieval Danish and Norwegian samples and the measurements of the teeth with a number of medieval and modern samples. The gracile skull was of normal size except for the low symphyseal mandibular height. The clavicle and the scapular fragment were of very small dimensions suggesting an extremely slender figure. No long bones were found. The dentition was characterized by congenital absence of nine teeth (4 M33, 3 P22, 1 P1, 1 I2) with retained deciduous teeth and by microdontia. With few exceptions the shape of the teeth was within the normal range of variation. The lengths of the roots were normal.

The relationship between partial anodontia and tooth size is discussed. The establishment of the crown-size of deciduous molars during intrauterine life is documented. Possible causes for generalized microdontia is reviewed and it is concluded that in the present case, the evidence indicates an intrauterine growth retardation (IU.G.R.) which was partly outgrown during childhood. The nature of IU.G.R. and its incidence are briefly mentioned.