Masculinization of the eruption pattern of permanent mandibular canines in opposite sex twin girls


Correspondence to: Tuomo Heikkinen DDS, PhD, Docent, Institute of Dentistry, Oral Development and Orthodontics, P.O. Box 5281, 90014 University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland. E-mail: (or)


The aim of this study is to explore the effect of prenatal androgenization on the clinical eruption of permanent teeth expressing dimorphism and bimaturism. The eruption curves of permanent teeth (except third molars), including those that make up the canine complex (permanent canines, lower first premolars), are compared among opposite sex twins (OS twins) relative to single-born boys and girls. The comparisons are made with regard to three phases of eruption (pierced mucosa, half- erupted, and completely erupted) from a cross-sectional sample of dental casts, using Kaplan–Meier survival and Cox regression analyzes. The casts were collected from 2159 school children from the US Collaborative Perinatal Project, including 39 pairs of OS-twins, of which 12 pairs (30.8%) were Euro-Americans and 27 pairs (69.2%) were of African-American ancestry. The eruption patterns of the incisors, upper first molars, and lower canines were found to be significantly masculinized (delayed) among OS twin girls. The differences in most other teeth were either not significant, or the number of observations of active eruption phases were too few, such as in the upper first molars and incisors, to yield strong evidence and meaningful results. The masculinization of the tooth eruption pattern in OS twin girls is intriguing because of the lower canine responses during puberty, as well as canine primordial formation during early fetal androgenization of their co-twin during the 8th to 14th gestational weeks. The present results offer a challenge for future research exploring tooth eruption mechanisms, and may also highlight some cases of delayed or ectopic canines, which are biased toward females. Am J Phys Anthropol 151:566–572, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.