Many orthodontists are seeing older patients, but James Mah, DDS, MSc, MRCD, DMSc, took the trend to an extreme when he examined a 2,000-year-old Egyptian girl. According to an article in HSC Weekly, Mah, an assistant professor of orthodontics at the USC School of Dentistry and director of the Craniofacial Virtual Reality Laboratory at the Center for Craniofacial Molecular Biology, received a 3D scan of the 4- or 5-year-old mummy from a group of researchers at Stanford University. Using 3D imaging software, Mah and Jack Choi from Anatomage discovered tooth fragments lodged in the nasal pharynx of their long-dead patient.
“We took the fragments and reassembled the tooth, and found it was a lower second molar,” Mah said. Using image slices from the area where the tooth was dislodged, Mah was able to record bone-density measurement.
“When you compare the density of the bone from the area where the teeth are missing and compare it to the other side of the jaw, you can see it was less dense. This suggests to us that there was likely dental disease or infection. This poor child likely died of dental disease.”