Pink teeth of the dead: 1. A clinical and histological description

Van Wyk C.W. (1987)


The findings of 21 cases with post-mortem pink teeth are described. Causes of death were drowing, burning, knifing and unknown. In the majority of cases all the teeth were equally pink but in some the colour of the anterior teeth was more prominent. In two instances the two sides of the jaws differed, in one the teeth of one side were markedly lighter and in the other one side showed no staining. Staining is always confined to the dentine. The enamel, cementum, radicular sclerosed dentine, secondary dentine and the dentine on which secondary dentine has been laid down are spared. Pulps of pink teeth vary from bright red to dark brown and in the majority of cases pulpal discolouration is confined to the crown and only that dentine adjacent to the discoloured pulp has taken up the pigment. In our series it seems that the pink teeth were mainly caused by accumulation of blood in the pulps due to pooling in the head and neck region.

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