Journal Article

Sagittal occlusal relationships and asymmetry in prematurely born children

Virpi Harila‐Kaera, Mathias Grön, Tuomo Heikkinen and Lassi Alvesalo

in The European Journal of Orthodontics

Published on behalf of European Orthodontics Society

Volume 24, issue 6, pages 615-625
Published in print December 2002 | ISSN: 0141-5387
Published online December 2002 | e-ISSN: 1460-2210 | DOI:
Sagittal occlusal relationships and asymmetry in prematurely born children

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The aim of this investigation was to examine the effect of pre‐term birth on sagittal occlusal relationships. The subjects were 328 prematurely born white and black children and 1804 control children who participated in the cross‐sectional study of the Collaborative Perinatal Project (USA) in the early 1960s and 1970s. Dental examinations, including dental casts and photographs, were performed at the age of 6–12 years. The sagittal occlusion of the permanent molars and the canine relationship was recorded by examining and measuring the hard stone casts. The pre‐term and comparison groups were divided by sex and race.

A significantly greater prevalence of pre‐normal canine relationships was found in the pre‐term group than in the controls (P < 0.001). The incidence of a bilateral symmetrical canine relationship was 60.3 per cent in both the pre‐term and control groups, but in the pre‐term group the girls had better symmetry than the boys. Asymmetry occurred significantly more often on the left side (P < 0.001), especially in the control boys, but this was not so clear in the pre‐term group. The prevalence of mesial molar occlusion was greater in the pre‐term group.

These results suggest that premature birth and the consequent exceptional adaptation from intra‐ to extra‐uterine nutrition may influence dental occlusal development. This emphasizes the importance of early functional activity and differences in masticatory muscle activity and the largely unknown phenomenon of early catch‐up growth. Individual differences in neonatal factors, in the need for intubation and other medical care are also of importance. Pre‐term birth may also interfere with the development of symmetry and lateralization.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Restorative Dentistry and Orthodontics

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