Introduction to terminologies of tooth enamel microstructures and a proposal for their standard Chinese translations
MAO Fang-Yuan, LI Chuan-Kui, MENG Jin, LI Qian, BAI Bin, WANG Yuan-Qing, ZHANG Zhao-Qun, ZHAO Ling-Xia, WANG Ban-Yue
Abstract Tooth enamel is composed of elongated, hexagonal crystallites of hydroxyapatite. Some crystallites are arranged into various regual structures and futher formed a composite structure in a hierarchical manner. The hierarchical system can provide a basis for analysis different levels of structural complexity from varitaiton of particular crystallite strucutes to variation of structural types throughout a individual’s dentition. The size, orientation, distribution and the packing patterns of crystallites are gene-comtrolled and have limited range of intraspecific variability. Thus, these microstructures provide considerable and reliable morphological characters that help understanding of external dental morphology in context of both phylogeny and function in vertebrates. Because teeth are highly resistant to weathering, mainly owing to their enamel covering, so that they were commonly preserved as fossils. This organic system, particularly their microstructures, has attracted more and more attention from vertebrate paleontologists and other morphologists. However, as already recognized by many previous studies, some terminologies of the enamel microstructures have been complex and used inconsistently. Although considerable effort has been made to study enamel microstructures in China during the last few decades, a standard terminology of enamel microstructures in Chinese has not be formally brought into line with that in English literatures. Here we intend to introduce and systematize the relevant terminology used in the study of enamel microstructures and translate them into Chinese, in hoping that this systematic effort will enhance researches of enamel microstructures in China.
Key words tooth enamel, microstructure, terminology, glossary, Chinese translation