Journal Article

Foetal alcohol syndrome: a dental and skeletal age analysis of patients and controls

Sudeshni Naidoo, Gustav Norval, Sonja Swanevelder and Carl Lombard

in The European Journal of Orthodontics

Published on behalf of European Orthodontics Society

Volume 28, issue 3, pages 247-253
Published in print June 2006 | ISSN: 0141-5387
Published online April 2006 | e-ISSN: 1460-2210 | DOI:
Foetal alcohol syndrome: a dental and skeletal age analysis of patients and controls

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Foetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) consists of multisystem abnormalities and is caused by the excessive intake of alcohol during pregnancy. The teratogenic effect of alcohol on the human foetus has now been established beyond reasonable doubt and FAS is one of the most important human teratogenic conditions known today. The purpose of this study was to assess the dental age (DA) and skeletal age (SA) of children with FAS and compare them with matched controls.

The samples of 90 children diagnosed with FAS and 90 controls were matched for age, gender, and social class. The mean chronological age (CA) of the FAS subjects was 8.95 years, with the controls slightly older at 9.04 years. This difference was not significant. Dental maturity was determined by assessing the stage of tooth formation and SA assessment was made from hand–wrist radiographs for the patients and controls by assigning a SA and comparing it with standard plates. The means and standard deviations of CA and DA for the stages of calcification were calculated and the Pearson ranked order correlation coefficient was applied to measure the associations between skeletal maturity indicators and DA. t-tests were used to test for group differences between independent groups, and paired t-tests to determine paired group differences.

This study provided evidence of a positive association between DA and SA in both the FAS children and the controls. The data suggest that both DA and SA may be a reflection of general somatic growth.

It must be acknowledged that growth of individuals is often irregular, when any norms of development based on central tendencies and variabilities of healthy children are applied. Some aspects of growth and development for healthy children may show a variable pattern of growth. Therefore, correlation of these aspects of growth and development will often not show the degree of correlation that theoretically exists between different areas of growth and development. A more complete appraisal of the entire skeleton and an evaluation of the entire dentition, rather than just the mandibular teeth, might improve the correlation between the variables.

Journal Article.  3728 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Restorative Dentistry and Orthodontics

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