How the Human Dentition Works:
a thegotic analysis.

Kevin B. Scally


In 1972 in “A new terminology for mammalian teeth ” Dr R.G. Every defined Thegotics as “the science that deals with the morphological, functional, and behavioural aspects of thegosis and the treatment of its related physical, emotional, and social pathologies.”

In 1989 at the V111th. International Symposium on Tooth Form, Function, and Evolution I presented a paper “Thegosis: A brief history of the idea, the science of thegotics, its methodology, some of the evidence, and the usefulness of the thegosis theory”. This presentation reintroduced the concepts of thegosis and showed that it was a multiphyletic phenomenon. It also presented a functional interpretation, using thegotic analysis, of a number of vertebrate and invertebrate dentitions.

Every’s terminology sets out a system for the analysis of tooth form and function analysis based on the features of sharpness and bluntness. The system uses the concepts of a basic cutting unit: the drepanon (Greek drepane sickle) and crushing (incusive) surfaces (Latin incuso, I hammer; incus, anvil). By applying this system to the human dentition it is possible to illustrate that molars and premolars are not functionally analogous to a mortar and pestle as is currently taught. These teeth function as precise, integrated, biological cutting and crushing units. Likewise, the same analysis suggests that the incisor-canine complex functions in a scissor-like fashion, and the anterior dentition is a precise cutting and crushing dental tool and weapon.

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