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Acta Med Hist Adriat. 2015;13(2):365-84.

The history of Latin teeth names.

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Faculty of Arts of Pavol Jozef Šafárik University in Košice, Košice, Slovakia.


This paper aims to give an account of the Latin naming of the different types of teeth by reviewing relevant historical and contemporary literature. The paper presents etymologies of Latin or Greek teeth names, their development, variants and synonyms, and sometimes the names of their authors. The Greek names did not have the status of official terms, but the Latin terms for particular types of teeth gradually established themselves. Names for the incisors, canines and molars are Latin calques for the Greek ones (tomeis, kynodontes, mylai), dens serotinus is an indirect calque of the Greek name (odús) opsigonos, and the term pre-molar is created in the way which is now common in modern anatomical terminology, using the prefix prae- = pre and the adjective molaris. The Latin terms dentes canini and dentes molares occur in the Classical Latin literature, the term (dentes) incisivi is found first time in medieval literature, and the terms dentes premolares and dens serotinus are modern-age ones.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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