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J Dent. 1990 Aug;18(4):216-20.

Shovel-shaped incisors and associated invagination in some Asian and African populations.

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  • 1Division of Removable Prosthodontics, College of Dentistry, King Saud University, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.


Shovelling of the incisors is considered to be a polygenic inheritable trait. Shovelling differs considerably between groups of racial populations but is relatively stable within each group. Presence or absence of shovelling helps in racial identification and in exploration of ancestry. Periapical radiographs of patients of several nationalities from Asian and African continents were obtained. Shovelling and invaginations associated with the shovel-shaped incisors was studied according to nationality. Results indicated that the incidence of shovelling in Syrians, Jordanians, Palestinians and Filipinos was 5-6 per cent. In Saudi Arabians, Pakistanis and Indians, the incidence of shovelling was 10-12 per cent. Among Yemenis, Sudanese and Egyptians, the incidence of shovelling was 20-25 percent. The occurrence of invaginations in shovel-shaped incisors was 11 per cent.

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