THE three-quarter view of the skull of Richard III which you printed on February 4 was interesting to a retired consultant orthodontist.

The damage to the upper jaw and nose, although traumatic, would probably not alone have killed the king. However, the slash or cut from the right side would have severed most of the soft tissue nose and cartilage, plus some of the bone above the cartilage.

The upper jaw or maxilla has also been forced backward, which explains why the upper and lower teeth do not fit together as they did before Bosworth.

The front teeth are edge-to-edge rather than the normal situation of the upper teeth being forward of the lower.

Thus the lower jaw appears to protrude, whereas the real state is the retrusion of the upper jaw. The teeth as they originally fitted together show considerable wear of the biting surfaces. You can see this most clearly with the canines, premolars and molars.

The King was a Bruxist, one who grinds their teeth more than is healthy. Perhaps the stress of survival or bad dreams was the problem. The missing teeth, including the upper left central incisor, were probably lost after death.

The king was only 32 at death but the bone supporting the retained teeth looks pretty healthy.

Julian Crabb, Upper Poppleton, York.


• AM I the only person on the planet who couldn’t care less where the famous bones are interred? Oh, there is at least one other – Richard himself!

D McTernan, Fossway, York.