Microstructure and chemical composition of primary teeth in children with Down syndrome and cerebral palsy

David Keinan, Patricia Smith, Uri Zilberman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


This study was designed to test the hypothesis that prenatal growth insults leave permanent signs in the developing primary teeth that can be identified in later life. To test this hypothesis we examined exfoliated and extracted lower second primary molars of children with Down syndrome (DS) and cerebral palsy (CP). Teeth of children with no adverse medical history were used as a control group. Informed consent of parents and children was obtained in all cases. On each tooth two thin sections were cut, one bisecting the mesial cusps and one bisecting the distal cusps. Using a light microscope, the width of prenatal enamel and postnatal enamel was measured on each section at standardized locations from the dentin-enamel junction (DEJ) with the neonatal line used to distinguish between prenatal and postnatal enamel. Chemical analysis of each section was carried out using an energy dispersive spectrophotometer (ESR). The Ca/P ratios of enamel and dentin for each cusp were calculated and intercusp and intergroup differences analysed using non-parametric statistical tests. The results showed that significantly less enamel was laid down prenatally in DS and CP teeth than in the control group and that the enamel of the mesial cusps in these groups was less highly mineralised than that of the controls. The results also showed that in DS teeth growth and mineralisation of all cusps was affected. Based on these findings we propose that analysis of exfoliated deciduous teeth in developmentally challenged children may help in identifying the onset and severity of growth insults in utero and its impact on later development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)836-843
Number of pages8
JournalArchives of Oral Biology
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Cerebral palsy
  • Dentin
  • Down syndrome
  • Enamel
  • Hydroxyapatite
  • Mineralisation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Dentistry (all)
  • Cell Biology


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