Shipping Teeth and Calcified Tissue

Clients outside the U.S.: After reviewing the information below, please go to “International Shipping Requirements” for detailed instructions.

New optional order form for your convenience: If you wish, please download the form using the links to the right, fill it out, and include along with your cover letter for the tooth sample sent to our lab for processing.

Pre-Shipment Checklist for Teeth and Calcified Tissue:

  • Indicate species.
  • Use the species-specific standard tooth type or indicate substitutions (see “Cementum Aging“).
  • Make a master inventory list.
    • Group the species (for fisher canines, group genders separately), and bundle envelopes together to match the list.
    • List numbers in serial order.
    • Indicate date of kill or of extraction from live animals.
    • Indicate gender for black bears (and any species for which a gender-specific age summary will be done).
  • Send an electronic copy of the master inventory list. Please use Microsoft Excel files and send the list as an e-mail attachment, or include it on a CD enclosed in the parcel with the teeth.

Ship to:
Matson’s Laboratory LLC
135 Wooden Shoe Lane
Manhattan MT 59741

Email address:

Description of Checklist Items:

  • Organize the specimens by species. Because of size and morphology differences, specimens of each species are processed separately. Package specimens of each species separately.
    • Matson’s cementum aging models are species-specific. For example, white-tailed deer I1 and mule deer I1 are aged by different models because the teeth erupt at different ages in the two species.
  • Teeth should be packaged dry in small paper envelopes of approximately 8 x 14 cm (coin envelopes work well). Do not use preservative liquids, plastic bags, or vials. Put envelopes in serial order by identification number. Use rubber bands to bundle the envelopes together in groups of 10 or 20 so they will remain in serial order during transit.
  • Prepare an inventory list using Microsoft Excel. The serial order of the list should correspond exactly with the serial order of envelope packaging so technicians can use it to confirm specimen identification at the start of laboratory processing. Include the list in the parcel, on a CD, or send it as an e-mail attachment.
  • The inventory list should also include species identification of the specimens and indicate the date of kill. Exact dates should be recorded for days between February 1 and August 31.
  • The cementum age of an unidentified non-standard tooth type may be incorrect because the animal’s age at the time of tooth eruption may differ from that of the standard type. Technicians may not always recognize a non-standard tooth, so each should be plainly designated on both the tooth envelope and on the master inventory list.


  • Package specimens only in containers of the strongest cardboard or, for small orders, in padded envelopes. Light cardboard cartons will often be crushed and torn during postal handling. Paper envelopes will be torn by postal service canceling machines and the contents will by lost. Pad the shipments with shipping “popcorn” or paper to help keep the envelope bundles intact.



  • Ship packages properly. All shipments should be sent to: Matson’s Laboratory, 135 Wooden Shoe Lane, Manhattan MT 59741.


Adding Late Additions to a Sample:

Matson’s will accept without extra charge up to two separate later additions to a sample of teeth for which processing has already begun.

Additions cannot be accepted indefinitely because of the substantial time investment to document and schedule each order, regardless of its size, and to track and finally unite the separate parts started at different times.

Additions received near the scheduled completion date will have to be treated as a new sample.