Scheduling for Lab Analysis & Shipping Samples

Please use the following checklist and packaging instructions to ensure that your teeth arrive in order and undamaged. For your convenience, click here to download an optional order form and include it along with your cover letter for the sample you are sending to our lab.

Clients outside the US: After reviewing the information below, please go to “International Shipping Requirements” for detailed instructions about getting your teeth into the country.

Scheduling for Lab Analysis

Advance scheduling has become the only reliable way to assure that lab results are available when needed. Please let us know as far in advance as possible what your expected needs might be and we will reserve places for lab processing and analysis. We appreciate the cooperation we are receiving from our clients scheduling a year in advance. Turnaround for samples sent without advance scheduling is typically six to twelve months.

Rush service may be available based on lab schedule, quantity and species. No quantity discounts are offered for rush orders, and all rush orders must be accompanied by an electronic master list. Contact the lab for pricing and availability.

Pre-Shipment Checklist for Teeth and Calcified Tissue:

Organize the specimens by species. Because of size and shape differences, teeth of each species are processed separately.

Our cementum aging models are species-specific. For example, first incisors of white-tailed deer and mule deer are aged by different models because the teeth erupt at different ages. Similarly, different tooth types belonging to the same species may erupt at different times, leading to incorrect ages if the tooth is not correctly identified. Technicians may not always recognize a non-standard tooth, so each should be clearly designated on both the tooth envelope and the master list.

For more information, see Cementum Aging.
  • List tooth ID numbers in serial order. We prefer them to be listed sequentially for ease of process. The envelope numbers on the master list must correspond with the order of envelope packaging so technicians can use it to confirm specimen identification when processing begins.
  • Indicate date of kill or date of extraction from live animals. If the tooth comes from a found carcass where date of death is unknown, please note that. Exact dates should be recorded for days between February 1 and August 31.
  • Please group genders separately for fishers and martens. Because of the large size difference in teeth belonging to each gender, they cannot be processed together. 
  • Indicate gender for black bears as well as any species for which a gender-specific age summary will be done.

Teeth should be packaged dry in small paper envelopes. Do not use preservative liquids, plastic bags, or vials. Please be aware that the postal service may not be willing to deliver your package if the teeth begin rotting in the mail. Use rubber bands to bundle the envelopes together in groups of 10 or 20 so they will remain in serial order during transit. 

Please use Microsoft Excel and send the list as an e-mail attachment (preferred) to You can also enclose a CD or flash drive containing the master list in the parcel with the teeth.

Package specimens in containers of the strongest cardboard or, for small orders, in padded envelopes. Light cardboard cartons and paper envelopes will often be torn during postal handling and the contents will be lost. Use shipping “peanuts” or paper to help keep the envelope bundles intact and in the correct order.

Mail to:  Matson’s Laboratory
               135 Wooden Shoe Lane
               Manhattan, MT  59741

Phone number: 406-258-6286
Email address:

Submitting Late Additions to a Sample

Depending on how far along an order is, we will accept up to two separate late additions to a sample of teeth for which processing has already begun without extra charge. Additions cannot be accepted indefinitely because of the substantial time investment to document each order and track the separate parts started at different times. Additions received near the scheduled completion date will have to be treated as a new sample. Please contact the lab prior to submitting late additions.

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