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Keywords:

  • odontometry;
  • dental reduction;
  • sexual differences;
  • molar size sequence

Abstract

Cusp dimensions of human maxillary molars were compared between males and females to determine whether the later-developed, distal cusps displayed greater sexual dimorphism than the earlier-developed, mesial cusps, and whether the later-forming second molar displayed greater sexual dimorphism than the first molar. First and second permanent molar crowns (M1 and M2) were measured indirectly, using dental casts obtained from 117 Japanese (65 males and 52 females). Measurements included maximum mesiodistal and buccolingual crown diameters and the diameters of the four main cusps: the paracone, protocone, metacone, and hypocone. Mean values of crown dimensions were larger in males than in females for both M1 and M2, but the sexual difference in protocone diameter of M1 was not significant. The protocone in M1 showed the least amount of sexual dimorphism, followed by the metacone, hypocone, and paracone, while in M2, the percentage sexual dimorphism corresponded to the order of cusp formation: paracone, protocone, metacone, and hypocone. With the exception of the paracone diameter, M2 showed greater sexual dimorphism than M1. Sexual dimorphism was not always greater in the later-developed, distal cusps of M1 or M2, but the protocone, the most important cusp in terms of occlusal function, displayed the least dimorphism in M1. Am J Phys Anthropol, 2004. © 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.