Whose tooth is this?
March 25, 2013 7:57 AM   Subscribe

I found an animal tooth in the couch cushions. Help me narrow down who it might have belonged to.

Here are some observations of the tooth:

- it had a large chunk of calculus (tartar) on one of the buccal surfaces, it chipped off
- it was dry, which makes me think it may have come loose from a skull
- enamel wear on the occlusal surface, but not so much that dentin is exposed
- The tooth has 2 main roots and a reduced third root

My top guess right now is possibly a canid maxillary first molar. For the size, I'd suppose either a small dog or a fox, but I'm not sure.

Here is photo reference of the tooth. I apologize for the poor quality.

1. with a dime for scale: http://i.imgur.com/UYJfnAb.jpg
2. occlusal view: http://i.imgur.com/gRxhuqH.jpg
3. apical view: http://i.imgur.com/zuo3ceo.jpg
4. slightly closer occlusal view: http://i.imgur.com/V5gNBE9.jpg
posted by overeducated_alligator to Science & Nature (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Did you buy your couch new or used? Do you have a dog who might have lost a tooth at some point?
posted by insectosaurus at 8:11 AM on March 25, 2013

overeducated_alligator: "- it was dry, which makes me think it may have come loose from a skull

When my dogs were puppies, they lost teeth and we wouldn't always find them until they were dried out (if they didn't swallow them right away). Your tooth looks like a puppy tooth to me. (Not a veterinary dentist, just a teething puppy veteran.)

Also, a dog with bad dental hygiene could lose a tooth without the owner noticing. This has happened to one of my dogs.

I wouldn't necessarily think it was from a skull, is what I'm saying. (I mean, it was obviously in a skull at one time, but probably while the owner of the skull was still using it.)
posted by SuperSquirrel at 8:22 AM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: It was a new couch, but also the tooth was pretty much on top of the cushions, so I think it might have gotten stuck to something and brought in from outside pretty recently.
posted by overeducated_alligator at 8:26 AM on March 25, 2013

Best answer: The calculus that has since fallen/broken off tells me it may have fallen out of the jaw of an older animal (probably with a rotting mouth/gums -- these do just fall out sometimes). The size makes me think of a cat/small dog, but the pointy (v. flat) cusps shown in the pic has me leaning more toward a kitteh than a dog/other canid.
The carnassial teeth (and distal) of the dog/cat in the upper arcade are the only teeth in the jaw that are reliably three-rooted.
My guess? Upper 4th PM or distal tooth of ageing pet exfoliates, falls onto pet-owner clothing and sticks temporarily, transported somehow to your couch.
posted by bebrave! at 9:31 AM on March 25, 2013

Yeah, or owner puts tooth in her/his pocket, visits you and it falls out of pocket. Some pockets do that- eject items therein contained-, especially when you sit down.
posted by mareli at 9:59 AM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Cat with advanced dental disease.
posted by virginia_clemm at 10:14 PM on March 25, 2013

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