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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 29  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 70-73

Buccolingual dimension of teeth: A sensitive odontometric parameter in gender differentiation

1 Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology, Dr. Hedgewar Smruti Rugna Seva Mandal's Dental College and Hospital, Hingoli, Maharashtra, India
2 Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology, Rural Dental College, Loni, India
3 Private Practice, Aurangabad, India
4 Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology, Saraswati Danwantri Dental College, Parbhani, Maharashtra, India

Date of Submission12-Jul-2016
Date of Acceptance24-Jun-2017
Date of Web Publication04-Aug-2017

Correspondence Address:
Pranali K Wankhede
14/15 Shri Hari Apartment, Harihar Nagar, Nagpur - 410 034, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jiaomr.JIAOMR_76_16

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Introduction: Determination of sex is important in identification of unknown person. Teeth are a potential source for sex determination due to unique odontologic characteristics. Objectives: To determine the sex of individuals using buccolingual dimensions of permanent teeth except third molars. This study involved 100 native residents of Ahmednagar district, Maharashtra in the age group of 18–40 years. Materials and Methods: The buccolingual (B-L) dimensional measurements of 28 teeth, except third molars, of 50 males and 50 females aged 18–40 years were measured on the study casts using vernier calipers with a resolution of 0.01 mm, and analyzed using discriminant function analysis. Results: Males showed greater B-L dimensions of teeth in comparison to females exhibiting statistically significant dimorphism. However, discriminant function analysis derived accuracy of determination of sex using 26 was 69% and 43 was 66.0%. On the whole, the percentage of overall accuracy was 68%. Conclusion: Application of B-L dimensional variability among males and females in the population of Ahmednagar can aid in forensic sex determination, as this study showed, that can be taken into account for sex determination in combination with skeletal traits and/or other odontometric measurements such as mesiodistal diameters.

Keywords: Buccolingual sex determination, sexual dimorphism, tooth size

How to cite this article:
Wankhede PK, Munde AD, Shoeb SS, Sahuji S, Niranjan VR, Meka NJ. Buccolingual dimension of teeth: A sensitive odontometric parameter in gender differentiation. J Indian Acad Oral Med Radiol 2017;29:70-3

How to cite this URL:
Wankhede PK, Munde AD, Shoeb SS, Sahuji S, Niranjan VR, Meka NJ. Buccolingual dimension of teeth: A sensitive odontometric parameter in gender differentiation. J Indian Acad Oral Med Radiol [serial online] 2017 [cited 2022 May 24];29:70-3. Available from: https://www.jiaomr.in/text.asp?2017/29/1/70/212092

   Introduction Top

Identification of humans has been the mainstay of civilization. The identification of the deceased and the living is necessary, and has become an important and integral part of our daily life. The identification of sex is of significance not only in cases of mass fatality incidents where bodies are damaged beyond recognition but also in situations where only fragments of jaw bones with teeth (or teeth alone) are found, where sex determination is possible only with the help of teeth.[1]

Teeth are excellent material in living and nonliving populations for anthropological, genetic, odontologic and forensic investigations. Because they are the hardest and chemically the most stable tissue in the body, selectively preserved, and fossilized, teeth provide the best records for evolutionary change. Odontometry helps us in determining sex in young individuals in whom secondary sexual characters have not developed.[2]

According to literature review, tooth size varies from population to population and also among different racial groups.[3],[4] Although teeth cannot be used as the sole indicator of sex, various studies indicate that they serve as a good adjunct for sex differentiation.[5] In general, males show larger crown size than females, exhibiting sexual dimorphism.[6] The present study chose the buccolingual (B-L) dimensions for sex determination because it is considered to be the most reliable measurement than the mesiodistal dimension.[3],[7],[8]

The aim of the present study is to determine the gender of an individual based on B-L dimensions of teeth and analyze if any sexual variation existed in the B-L dimensions of permanent teeth, except third molars, in the adult population of Ahmednagar district, Maharashtra. It also intended to evaluate the reliability of dimensional variations of teeth in determining sex the among same the population.

   Materials and Methods Top

The study population constituted 50 males and 50 females of Ahmednagar district, in the age group of 18 to 40 years, reporting as outpatients in our department. The study participants were selected using simple random sampling. The inclusion criteria included the presence of complete eruption of all permanent teeth in both arches except third molars, and excluded the developmental defects or pathologies affecting the size and shape of teeth, with no caries or fracture or no conservative treatment other than class I occlusal restoration and no developmentally missing teeth in any of the segments.

Following the approval of the ethical committee, each patient was informed about the study, and prior consent was obtained. The impressions of both the jaws were made with alginate and poured immediately in type IV dental stone to minimize dimensional changes. The greatest distance between buccal and lingual surfaces of crown parallel to the long axis of the tooth was measured with the help of digital vernier caliper having 0.01 mm resolution [Figure 1]a and [Figure 1]b. A single observer read all the measurements. Data obtained from various measurements was recorded on a proforma. It was then analyzed using stepwise discriminant function statistics using IBM SPSS version 19, Armonk, NY, USA.
Figure 1: Measurement of the distance between buccal and lingual surfaces of crown parallel to the long axis of the tooth with the help of digital vernier caliper. (a) anterior teeth; (b) posterior teeth

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   Results Top

The study was carried out among 100 individuals belonging to Ahmednagar district in the age group of 18 to 40 years. B-L measurements of teeth of these individuals were measured on the maxillary and mandibular study casts. The data thus obtained was subjected to statistical analysis which included descriptive statistics, independent-sample t-test, and discriminant function analysis.

It was found that the dimensions of teeth in males were greater compared to that of females, which is almost similar to the results of the previous studies. However, only a few teeth showed statistically significant dimorphism. The dimensions of male teeth were greater in comparison to that of females as a part of univariate analysis. In multivariate analysis, only maxillary left first molar and mandibular right canine contributed the most. Taking these teeth into account separately, different sectioning points were obtained. It could be interpreted that the values below these sectioning points belongs to females and greater values to males.

The percentage of dimorphism can be defined as “the percent to which the tooth size of males exceed that of females” to express the magnitude of sexual dimorphism.[9] This was calculated as follows

{(Xm/Xf) −1} × 100

Where Xm = mean male tooth dimension

Xf = mean female tooth dimension.

Several stepwise discriminant function statistics were used to develop formulae to determine sex. [Table 1] provides the summary of coefficients and sectioning points for each function to determine sex. The structure matrix describes the magnitude of relation between the function and the variable entered. In the present study, 26 and 43 contributed the most to the analysis. The sectioning point obtained was 0.00, i.e., the values obtained after applying the following formula is less than 0.00 then the material will be considered to be belonging to a female.
Table 1: Summary of canonical discriminant function coefficient for the B-L dimensions of teeth

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The structure matrix showed that 26 and 43 are the variables that contributed most for the analysis. The standardized, canonical discriminant function coefficient for 26 is 0.757 and for 43 is 0.542. It was found that 26 could classify the original and cross validated grouped cases correctly by 69% [Table 2]. It could classify 33 males among 50 males and 36 females among 50 females correctly. Rest of the 14 males and 17 females showed overlapping results. Similarly 43 could classify the original and cross validated grouped cases correctly by 66% [Table 3]. An overall accuracy of determination of sex from these measurements was 68%. Individually, an accuracy of sex determination by 26 was 69% and by 43 was 66% [Table 4].
Table 2: Accuracy of determination of sex using 26

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Table 3: Accuracy of determining sex using 43

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Table 4: Overall accuracy of classification

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   Discussion Top

The word dimorphism comes from the etymology “Dimorphos” (Latin). By definition, dimorphism means occurring in two different forms.[9] “Sexual dimorphism” refers to those, differences in size, structure, and appearance between males and females that can be applied to dental identification because no two mouths are alike.[10]

Many anthropologists have preferred the osteometric techniques for the morphological assessment of differences in size and shape of the human remains. Bones that are used chiefly for sex determination are the pelvis and skull,[11],[12] together they provide a high accuracy in sex determination (98%)[11] proving to be the most reliable material for sex determination. It has been observed that sexual dimorphism depends on the region of the skeleton and its use. Studies on B-L dimensions of teeth, and their reliability as an indicator of sex are minimal. In addition, such studies conducted among the Indian population are extremely minimal. With this background, the present study was intended to be carried out in the Ahmednagar district. Univariate analysis of the study showed that overall B-L dimensions of male dentition are greater than those of females, which is in accordance with the previous studies.[2],[3]

Maxillary left first molar and mandibular right canine, in our study, exhibited sexual dimorphism. This is in accordance with the studies conducted by Rai et al.[13] and Acharya et al.[7] Another study by Acharya[8] differs from the present study as they found the left mandibular canine showing dimorphism apart from maxillary left second molar and maxillary right first premolar. In this study, mandibular right canine showed 66% accuracy. Similar results were obtained in the study conducted on Turkish population by Iscan et al.,[3] which showed significant dimorphism in mandibular canine, first and second molars, and first premolars; whereas the present study showed significant dimorphism in mandibular canine and maxillary first molar. The percentage of sexual dimorphism of maxillary left first molar was determined to be 5.6%, in which the classification accuracy was 66% for males and 72% for females. Similar results were obtained by Rai et al.,[13] Nicola et al.,[14] and Rani et al.[15] In the study by Prabhu,[16] the mandibular first molar was found to be the most dimorphic tooth, which was not observed in our study.

In the present study, the percentage of sexual dimorphism of maxillary left first molar was 5.6%, with a classification accuracy of 66% for males and 72% for females. Similarly, in the study conducted by Rohtak,[11] the percentage of sexual dimorphism was 7.7% and a classification accuracy of 100% for males and 8.25% for females was found. In another study from North India by Rai,[13] the author concluded that whenever the B-L of either maxillary molar is more than 10.7 mm, the probability of sex being male is 100% and when it is less than 10.7 mm the sex could be 82% female. In the study by Nicola,[14] B-L diameter of the first upper molar and upper canine was 80% successful in sex determination.

   Conclusion Top

The present study has described sexual dimorphism in Ahmednagar district using univariate statistics and discriminant analysis. The maxillary left first molar and mandibular right canine showed consistent dimorphism. This study also supported earlier studies, which considered sexual dimorphism to be a population-specific phenomenon. Males showed greater B-L dimensions in both maxillary and mandibular right and left teeth. An overall accuracy of determination of sex from these measurements was 68%. Individually, an accuracy of sex determination by 26 was 69% and by 43 was 66%. However, this is not sufficient to differentiate males from females solely.[4] Hence, it can be concluded that B-L dimensions of teeth of population in Ahmednagar district can effectively help in the determination of sex in conjunction with other major skeletal or dental traits.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

   References Top

Boaz K, Gupta C. Dimorphism in human maxillary and mandibular canines in establishment of gender. J Forensic Dent Sci 2009;1:42-4.  Back to cited text no. 1
  [Full text]  
De Vito C, Saunders SR. A discriminant function analysis of deciduous teeth to determine sex. J Forensic Sci 1990;35:845-58.  Back to cited text no. 2
Iscan MY, Kedici PS. Sexual variation in bucco-lingual dimensions in Turkish dentition. Forensic Sci Int 2003;137:160-4.  Back to cited text no. 3
Hashim HA, Al-Ghamdi S. Tooth width and arch dimensions in normal and malocclusion samples: An odontometric study. J Contemp Dent Pract 2005;6:36-51.  Back to cited text no. 4
Vodanovi M, Demo Z, Njemirovskij V, Keros J, Brkic H. Odontometrics: A useful method for sex determination in an archaeological skeletal population. J Archeol Sci 2007;34:905-13.  Back to cited text no. 5
Lund H, Monstad H. Gender determination by odontometrics in a Swedish population. J Forensic Odontostomatol 1999;17:30-4.  Back to cited text no. 6
Acharya AB, Mainali S. Sex discrimination potential of buccolingual and mesiodistal tooth dimensions. J Forensic Sci 2008;53:790-2.  Back to cited text no. 7
Acharya BA, Mainali S. Univariate sex dimorphism in the Nepalese dentition and the use of discriminant functions in gender assessment. Forensic Sci Int 2007;173:47-56.  Back to cited text no. 8
Garn SM, Lewis AB, Swindler DR, Kerewsky RS. Genetic control of sexual dimorphism in tooth size. J Dent Res 1967;46:963-72.  Back to cited text no. 9
Tabers Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary. 16th ed. New Delhi, India: Jaypee Pub; 1990.  Back to cited text no. 10
Hemani S, Balachander N, Kumar AR, Ranjan K. Dental dimorphism in ethnics of Tamil Nadu: Aid in forensic identification. J Forensic Odontol 2008;1:37-45.  Back to cited text no. 11
Reddy N. The Essentials of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology. 25th ed. Hyderabad, India: Medical Book Co.  Back to cited text no. 12
Rai B, Dhattawal Anand SC. Sex determination from tooth. Medico-Legal Update 2008;8:1-4.  Back to cited text no. 13
Nicola MT. Sexual dimorphism of tooth crown diameters. A contribution to the determination of the sex of subadult individuals from the early bronze age graveyard of Franzhausen I, lower Austria. Anthropol Anz 1992;50:51-65.  Back to cited text no. 14
Prathibha Rani RM, Mahima VG, Patil K. Bucco-lingual dimension of teeth - An aid in sex determination. J Forensic Dent Sci 2009;1:88-92.  Back to cited text no. 15
Prabhu S, Acharya AB. Odontometric sex assessment in Indians. Forensic Sci Int 2009;192:129.  Back to cited text no. 16


  [Figure 1]

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4]


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