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Open Access Research article

Morphometric, densitometric and mechanical properties of mandibular deciduous teeth in 5-month-old Polish Merino sheep

Marcin R Tatara12*, Anna Szabelska3, Witold Krupski2, Barbara Tymczyna4, Iwona Łuszczewska-Sierakowska5, Jarosław Bieniaś6 and Monika Ostapiuk6

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Animal Physiology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Life Sciences in Lublin, ul. Akademicka 12, 20-950 Lublin Poland

2 II Department of Radiology, Medical University in Lublin, ul. Staszica 16, 20-081 Lublin, Poland

3 Department of Prosthetic Dentistry, Medical University in Lublin, ul. Karmelicka 7, 20-081 Lublin, Poland

4 Department of Conservative Dentistry and Endodontics, Medical University in Lublin, ul. Karmelicka 7, 20-081 Lublin, Poland

5 Department of Animal Anatomy, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Life Sciences in Lublin, ul. Akademicka 12, 20-950 Lublin, Poland

6 Department of Materials Engineering, Lublin University of Technology, ul. Nadbystrzycka 36, 20-618 Lublin, Poland

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BMC Veterinary Research 2014, 10:45  doi:10.1186/1746-6148-10-45

Published: 19 February 2014



Caries, enamel hypoplasia, molar incisor hipomineralization, amylogenesis imperfecta, dentine dysplasia, hypophosphatasia and other dental disorders lead to tooth mineralization disturbances and structural abnormalities, decreasing masticatory organ functions. Dental disorders in sheep can lead to premature slaughter before they have attained final stage of their reproductive life and induce economic loss due to high flock replacement costs. Growth rate, health status and meat quality of sheep depends on tooth properties and quality determining in large extent efficiency of the masticatory apparatus and initial food break up. Considering lack of basic anatomical and physiological data on teeth properties in sheep, the aim of the study was to evaluate morphometric, densitometric and mechanical traits of deciduous mandibular incisor, canine and the second premolar obtained at the slaughter age of 5 months of life.


The obtained results have shown the highest values of weight, total tooth volume, enamel volume and dentine volume in second premolar. Morphometric and mechanical parameters of incisors reached the highest values in first incisor and decreased gradually in second and third incisor, and in canine. Densitometric measurements have not revealed significant differences of the volumetric tooth mineral density in hard dental tissues between the investigated teeth.


In conclusion, proposed methodological approach is noninvasive since the deciduous teeth undergo physiological replacement with permanent teeth. Deciduous teeth can be easy collected for analyses from large animal population and may reflect mineral status and metabolism resulting from postnatal growth and development of the whole flock. In individual cases, evaluation of properties of deciduous teeth may serve for breeding selection and further reproduction of sheep possessing favorable traits of teeth and better masticatory system functions.

Sheep; Teeth; Densitometry; Quantitative computed tomography; Microtomography