Master of Arts (MA)


Geography and Anthropology

Document Type



Current literature on the prevalence of impaction has not addressed the change over time (secular change) as it relates to the dimensions of the dental arcade. It has been suggested both that the prevalence of impaction is increasing and that the dimensions of the dental arcade may be decreasing, but no studies have investigated these two variables in conjunction with one another. This study aims to record secular change in the prevalence of impaction by utilizing two sets of data: individuals from the Terry collection represent a historic population from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and individuals from the donated skeletal collections housed at the W. M. Bass Forensic Anthropology Center and the Forensic Anthropology and Computer Enhancement Services (FACES) Laboratory represent a contemporary modern population. In addition to recording dental impactions by visual inspection, dental arcade widths and depths were taken in both the maxillae and mandible; these measurements formed a trapezoid with which the relative dental arcade area could be calculated. This study found that the overall prevalence of impaction has increased significantly between the historic and modern samples. The maxillary dental arcade is significantly larger in the modern sample than in the historic; the mandibular dental arcade shows no significant difference. However, scatterplots and linear regression equations show a decrease in the size of the dental arcade area for both the maxillae and the mandible. These results show that secular change in occurring. The proposed negative correlation between the prevalence of dental impaction and the relative size of the dental arcade does appear to exist, although this cannot be statistically demonstrated in this study.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Manhein, Mary H.