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Folia Morphol (Warsz). 2019;78(1):214-220. doi: 10.5603/FM.a2018.0071. Epub 2018 Aug 14.

Inverted and horizontal impacted third molars in an Early Modern skull from Wroclaw, Poland: a case report.

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Division of Normal Anatomy, Department of Human Morphology and Embryology, Wroclaw Medical University, Wroclaw, Poland.
Division of Histology and Embryology, Department of Human Morphology and Embryology, Wroclaw Medical University, Wroclaw, Poland.
Department of Anthropology, Hirszfeld Institute of Immunology and Experimental Therapy, Polish Academy of Sciences, Wroclaw, Poland.
Department of Oral Anatomy, Wroclaw Medical University, Wroclaw, Poland.
Department of Conservative Dentistry and Pedodontics, Wroclaw Medical University, Wroclaw, Poland.



An impacted tooth is one of the most commonly occurring dental anomalies, although some types of impaction (i.e. inverted angulation) may be considered rare finding. There are many hypotheses regarding impaction aetiology. One of the most popular hypotheses suggested that this condition may result from insufficient space in retromolar space, other: improper angulation of tooth bud, malposition of the tooth germ or hereditary factors, insufficient interproximal attrition, ectopy or dysfunction of genes necessary for proper tooth eruption. This study aims to present the odontological and paleopathological assessment of the impacted molars observed within the skull excavated from an early modern cemetery in Wroclaw.


The skull used in the study was complete and in a good state of preservation. It belonged to an adult individual whose body was buried at the former Salvator Cemetery (currently Czysty Square). The individual's dentition was almost completely lost antemortem. Only second molars preserved within the maxillae (bilaterally) and the mandible was almost edentulous as well. The morphometric traits have been taken according to standards established by R. Martin. Macroscopic observations were supported by X-rays and computed tomography imaging.


The age at death was estimated at 20-35 years. Comparison of the metric characteristics of skull with the reference material reveals that it is much smaller than the average female skull from this series. Morphometric indices calculated for both splanchocranium and neurocranium allow defining the skull and jaw as short, which could be an important factor involved in the teeth impaction.


Atypical impaction of the third molars could result from small size of skull and could have significantly deteriorated the quality of life of the individual.


paleopathology; tooth abnormalities; tooth impaction

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