Reinterpretation of a Phoenician dental appliance

Abstract

Background Since its discovery in 1862, the Gaillardot Phoenician gold wire dental bridge (Louvre artefact no. 5,777) has been the subject of conflicting interpretations as to its correct situation in the jaws, the origin of replaced teeth, and the possibility of teeth having been rearranged within the appliance.

Methods This paper offers an analysis based on examination and digital macrophotography of the appliance at the Louvre. Resultant images aided never-before considered points of evidence such as aspects of individual tooth anatomy, occlusion, and the need of the fabricating artisan to allow for crowding of the original dentition.

Results Pontic and abutment teeth bear a labial horizontal developmental groove and are the same colour. Canines and incisors conform to mandibular teeth anatomy and canines are in their correct positions. Canine incisal cusp wear and a flat labial arch indicates the dentition had been an Angle Class III anterior relationship. The incisor pontic teeth had originally been crowded out of the arch and were trimmed to reduce their width to fit the bridge within the arch.

Conclusions This extra evidence confirms the interpretation of a mandibular setting and correct positioning of teeth within the appliance. To create a favourable dental arrangement to address bridge stability and longevity, the fabricating artisan had to modify the dentition.

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Correspondence to Michael J. Maccheroni.

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