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Semin Orthod. 1999 Sep;5(3):191-204.

Stability and relapse of mandibular anterior alignment: University of Washington studies.

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Department of Orthodontics, University of Washington, Seattle 98195-7446, USA.


For more than 40 years, research in the Department of Orthodontics, University of Washington (Seattle, WA) has focused on a growing collection of more than 800 sets of patient records to assess stability and relapse of orthodontic treatment. All patients had completed treatment a decade or more before the last set of data. Evaluation of treated premolar extraction patients, treated lower incisor extraction patients, treated non-extraction cases with generalized spacing, patients treated with arch enlargement strategies, and untreated normals showed similar physiologic changes: (1) Arch length decreases after orthodontic treatment. (2) Arch width measured across the mandibular canine teeth typically reduces posttreatment, whether or not the case was expanded during treatment. (3) Mandibular anterior crowding during the posttreatment phase is a continuing phenomenon well into the 20-to-40 years age bracket and likely beyond. (4) Third molar absence or presence, impacted or fully erupted, seems to have little effect on the occurrence or degree of relapse. (5) The degree of post-retention anterior crowding is both unpredictable and variable and no pretreatment variables either from clinical findings, casts, or cephalometric radiographs before or after treatment seem to be useful predictors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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