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Hairline Cracks in Teeth

Discussion in 'Skulls and Skeletons' started by xxohmycaptainxx, Feb 16, 2015.

  1. xxohmycaptainxx

    xxohmycaptainxx Member

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    How can you prevent teeth from cracking? I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong but nearly every tooth in all of my recently processed skulls have cracks in their teeth. The cracks usually occur around 2-3 weeks after the teeth have been whitened in peroxide. My skulls don't really stay in the freezer long and then I thaw them out in warm water overnight. They macerate at around 110 degrees, although my incubator has been at about 90 lately, and I never rapidly change the temperature of the water or the surroundings that the teeth are in.

    After their done whitening in peroxide I dry them with a towel and then put them in deli cups to continue drying, after about 2-3 weeks the hairline cracks begin to appear, and not just in the canines. In the raccoon I process every single one of its teeth produced hairline cracks except for the incisors. I have no idea what the issue is. Could it be my room's temperature? All my skulls are kept in my bedroom which generally fluctuates from around 65-75 degrees depending on the weather outside and my theromostat.

    I've also had hairline cracks appear in my Olive Baboon's canines, really pissed about those as I'm not sure I'll be able to remove them to repair them. The bobcat I finished processing a month or two ago is now showing hairline cracks in its canines and several molars. I'm stumped as to whats causing it. Is there anything I can do to stop them from appearing? I've heard of people filling teeth with glue but most of the teeth where the cracks appear don't have open roots so you can't fill them. Ugh someone please help me out.
     
  2. akvz

    akvz New Member

    Biggest issue is a change in humidity, rather than temperature... drying them too quickly, especially for beetles, seems to be an issue. I've never had a crack in any teeth but I also coat in paraloid to help prevent this.

    The middle of the teeth are hollow to contain pulp. You can cut the root to fill with 1 part epoxy or something but it's far easier to just dip them in paraloid as a sealant.
     

  3. xxohmycaptainxx

    xxohmycaptainxx Member

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    Hmmm. Maybe that could be it.. I don't really pay attention to the humidity in my room. Its not bad enough to affect my insect collections but it could be causing my issues. I've never used paraloid before. I prefer my skulls unsealed. Does paraloid leave like a white coat over the teeth or does it dry clear? Could it actually prevent the teeth from cracking?

    I'm not just having issues with the canine teeth in my skulls, its ALL of the teeth except the incisors. If I leave them long enough so they crack enough for me to separate them and glue them then the canines are an easy fix but that's not always a guarantee as it could rapidly crack and a piece could go exploding off into my room somewhere.

    For molars there's no real way to fill them with epoxy as for many of my skulls' molars they're too small or shaped in such a way that I'd have to cut the root extremely high to be able to get to the hollow center, I've tried this before and all it results in is a shattered tooth or a tooth that is obviously missing its root when placed into the tooth socket. Gahh I never thought the one issue I'd have with processing skulls would be damn teeth cracking. I got no issues degreasing or macerating but the teeth annoy me to no damn end.
     
  4. akvz

    akvz New Member

    It dries clear. It is resin suspended in acetone (or denatured alcohol) and it does not create a coat over the teeth unless you get a very thick mixture, not my style or anyone else's that I know of-- it'll look plastic-coated because it is. A thin mixture will seep into the porous bone (or tooth root) and fill the bone (or tooth root) with plastic to support it. I can't guarantee it will prevent cracking, but it should support the tooth with resin and be less prone to cracking at the very least.
     
  5. xxohmycaptainxx

    xxohmycaptainxx Member

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    Gahh it doesn't sound to promising. I do have a skunk jaw that was sealed, or what I was told, it has one cracked tooth but not sure if it was like that when I bought it. Its teeth don't look bad, just really white and sorta fake looking if you look really really close. Bleh. If these were your skulls what would you do? Keep in mind these are skulls come from animals as small as minks so its not really feasible to clip the roots and seal them on some.
     
  6. akvz

    akvz New Member

    They may have been sealed with nail polish or something. Paraloid won't even leave a clear glossy coat if you get it thin enough, and if it's too glossy you can get a lint-free cloth and dampen with some acetone and rub out the shine.

    I'd just seal the skulls at this point-- it prevents further damage and will keep dust and hand oils from collecting on them.
     
  7. I've personally never had much luck with paraloid and teeth- they'd crack anyway and have a weird plastic coat over the large crack (as the paraloid stretched). I use elmers. Just smear a thin coat right over the crack. Thin smear. Once dry, you can't tell.
     
  8. boarhunter67

    boarhunter67 Well-Known Member

    Try painting clear nail polish on the outside of the teeth you are worried about. I do that on pig teeth and they don't crack. You can't see it when it's dry.
     
  9. xxohmycaptainxx

    xxohmycaptainxx Member

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    I think I might try using paraloid or an elmer's coat. Not sure yet. I don't think nail polish would be feasible. The skulls with issues are as small as 1.5" so if the teeth did end up cracking despite the nail polish it'd be a pain to try and remove it to repair the tooth. Someone suggested my teeth weren't drying thoroughly and that I was placing them in too dry an area too fast, which resulted in them drying rapidly and then cracking. Gunna see if I can find a more humid place to let them dry out, then slowly transition them to my bedroom. Gunna then let them sit for a couple weeks in the open before I put them in the skull, this way if any cracks occur I can split the tooth and repair it easily, which is what I did for my raccoon and now its perfect with no visible cracks in any of its teeth even though every single tooth split. If anyone else has any ideas please let me know.
     
  10. lokireptiles

    lokireptiles Member

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    Try putting a couple pin hole size holes in the deli cover and putting the cover back on this will trap some moisture inside the deli and it will dry more slowly. When they crack, I repair them while they are still in the skull.

    You may want to skip the warm water when they come out of the freezer. The temperature change could be
    enough to cause stress cracks that crack all the way through once they have dried thoroughly.
     
  11. xxohmycaptainxx

    xxohmycaptainxx Member

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    Hmm I didn't think that would be an issue as the teeth are still in the skull and full of tissue and such... Hmm maybe I'll leave the skulls to thaw overnight in a bucket in my second room rather than in the sink in hot water. At what point would maceration be an issue for them? Because when I have the correct bulbs for my incubator the temperatures get up to around 100-110 degrees although it usually stays around 105.
     
  12. lokireptiles

    lokireptiles Member

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    I think the difference between 0 degrees (or whatever your freezer is) and whatever your hot water faucet allows is far greater than 65-75 degrees and 110 for maceration.

    I think it's not the actual temperature itself, it's the temperature shock that can be a factor with cracking teeth. But I don't believe it's the absolute soul cause. I think there need to be several factors that have to be present. Another factor that may play into it is low humidity. In the winter in the north east this is common problem in homes. You wake up in the morning with a dry nose and throat. Air conditioners also reduce moisture.

    From personal observation, and from what you have described. It seems like the inside of the tooth drying out faster than the outside is what causes the fracture or split. It is often through the root or the area that was filled with soft tissue that is no longer containing moisture or has been completely oxidized away therefore the inside of the tooth shrinks slightly. When this happens new internal stress is placed on the tooth. If the tooth is too brittle due to chemical treatment or it already has stress fractures, it cracks. I have observed some cracked teeth split surfaces curl away from each. In extreme cases these splits at times are like wound springs when they finally let go often pieces fly off.

    I usually keep all my small to medium sized skulls in kitty litter trays mostly because they are easy to handle and hold about the same number of skulls I process in a given time. As a extra benefit if one of my skulls does happen to have this problem, so far the teeth stay contained and don't end up shooting off somewhere into the abyss.
    Again these are things that I have observed and are by no means based on anything else so take it as just that.
     
  13. xxohmycaptainxx

    xxohmycaptainxx Member

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    So what changes do you suggest I make? I'm definitely no longer going to thaw skulls in my sink anymore but is there anything else I could do to prevent cracks? I was advised by someone else to dry them in a more humid area, around 35%, would that help? Because I checked yesterday and my room's humidity is barely at 5%. It's probably why my skulls dry out so fast and I don't have any issues with my insect collections XD I think I'm going to start leaving the teeth in the basement to finish drying, as its a bit cooler down their and more humid.
     
  14. Just as a personal anecdote: when I had a shop, I had a drying area for finished skulls or for skulls I wanted to store over winter. One September as a fan stirred the air around that area there was a sudden cacophony as several teeth suddenly jumped off the drying racks in their forceful cracking... I turned the fan off. lol.
     
  15. lokireptiles

    lokireptiles Member

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    The problem doesn't just end while it's drying. Long term teeth can crack from temperature and humidity swings. We can get days of 80% humidity in the northeast.Your best bet is to try to keep an even temperature and humidity. Just like any valuable collection would need. In your case a humidifier in your room set to around 35% would help you your bugs (depending what you have) and your skulls.
     
  16. xxohmycaptainxx

    xxohmycaptainxx Member

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    That's the issue my room has no humidity at all. I was hoping that as long as the teeth dried slowly that they wouldn't crack. My room has next to 0% humidity almost all the time. A humidifier wouldn't be good for my health, humidity makes me sick, and insect collections are actually best kept in the most dry conditions you can supply for them. I've had my insect collections for around 2-3 years now. No damage or pest infestations (knock on wood) and I don't want to risk that with added humidity. There has to be some step I can change that will stop the teeth from cracking, as all my entomologist friends really recommend dry conditions for insect collections. Ugh I really don't wanna have to buy a closed glass display case or something. I know so many people who process the same way I do and have no cracking issues.