Three-dimensional analysis of mandibular growth and tooth eruption

S. Krarup, Tron Andre Darvann, Per Larsen, J.L. Marsh, S. Kreiborg

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    Normal and abnormal jaw growth and tooth eruption are topics of great importance for several dental and medical disciplines. Thus far, clinical studies on these topics have used two-dimensional (2D) radiographic techniques. The purpose of the present study was to analyse normal mandibular growth and tooth eruption in three dimensions based on computer tomography (CT) scans, extending the principles of mandibular growth analysis proposed by Bjork in 1969 from two to three dimensions. As longitudinal CT data from normal children are not available (for ethical reasons), CT data from children with Apert syndrome were employed, because it has been shown that the mandible in Apert syndrome is unaffected by the malformation, and these children often have several craniofacial CT scans performed during childhood for planning of cranial and midface surgery and for follow-up after surgery. A total of 49 datasets from ten children with Apert syndrome were available for study. The number of datasets from each individual ranged from three to seven. The first CT scan in each of the ten series was carried out before 1 year of age, and the ages for the 49 scans ranged from 1 week to 14.5 years. The mandible and the teeth were segmented and iso-surfaces generated. Landmarks were placed on the surface of the mandible, along the mandibular canals, the inner contour of the cortical plate at the lower border of the symphysis menti, and on the teeth. Superimposition of the mandibles in the longitudinal series was performed using the symphysis menti and the mandibular canals as suggested by Bjork. The study supported the findings of stability of the symphysis menti and the mandibular canals as seen in profile view previously reported by Bjork & Skieller in 1983. However, the mandibular canals were, actually, relocated laterally during growth. Furthermore, the position of tooth buds remained relatively stable inside the jaw until root formation started. Eruption paths of canines and premolars were vertical, whereas molars erupted in a lingual direction. The 3D method would seem to offer new insight into jaw growth and tooth eruption, but further studies are needed.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalJournal of Anatomy
    Issue number5
    Pages (from-to)669-682
    Publication statusPublished - 2005


    • three dimensions
    • development
    • CT
    • facial growth
    • jaw


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