Sexual dimorphism of deciduous canine dental tissues dimensions of modern human populations

The dental tissue proportions of human permanent canines are one of only a few sexually dimorphic features that are present in childhood, and therefore offer the opportunity to estimate the sex of immature individuals. This work aims to evaluate for the first time the degree of sexual dimorphism ‍in the three-dimensional (3D) measurements of deciduous canine dental tissues, to assess their potential in sexual assessment. Computed microtomographic techniques have been employed to anal‍yse the maxillary and mandibular deciduous canines of 65 individuals (36 females and 29 males) of known sex and age. The teeth were scanned and the volumes and 3D surface areas of the enamel cup and the dentine–pulp complex were obtained. Our results did not show statistically significant differences in either the absolute or relative dimensions of the enamel and dentine between female and male teeth. We hence conclude that volumes and 3D surface areas of deciduous canine dental tissues do not allow for sex determination, which contrasts with what has been observed in permanent canines by other authors. The differences in the degree of sexual dimorphism in dental tissue proportions be‍tween permanent and deciduous canines seem to be due to a decrease in the intersexual variability of ‍the dentine component dimensions. Since the dentine component is a tissue capable of responding to ‍changes in sex hormone concentration levels, our results might indicate that hormones play a more important role in the development of sexual dimorphism in the permanent dentition than previously thought.