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Eur J Orthod. 2000 Jun;22(3):245-55.

The long-term survival of lower second primary molars in subjects with agenesis of the premolars.

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Department of Orthodontics, Institute for Postgraduate Dental Education, Sweden.


This study investigated 41 subjects, 13 male and 28 female, with agenesis of one or both lower second premolars, and with retained lower second primary molars. Intra-oral radiographs of 59 primary teeth were examined to judge the resorption of the mesial and distal roots, and were measured to record infra-occlusion of the primary teeth and tipping of the adjacent permanent teeth. The study commenced at 11-12 years of age. The mean age at the last measurement was 20 years 6 months (SD 3.62, range 13.6-31.8 years). During the observation period, only two of the 59 primary teeth were exfoliated. Five were extracted, two of which were replaced by upper third molar transplants. Beyond the age of 20 years no teeth were lost. Root resorption varied widely between individuals, but was slow. There was no typical pattern for development of infra-occlusion. Mean infra-occlusion was 0.47 mm (SD 1.13) at 11-12 years, increasing by less than 1.0 to 1.43 mm (SD 1.13) at age 17-18 years. At age 19-20 years, 55 per cent of teeth showed infra-occlusion between 0.5 and 4.5 mm, but 45 per cent showed no infra-occlusion. The space between the first molar and first premolar was a mean of 10.35 mm (SD 0.76) at age 10-12 years compared with the mean width of the second primary molar of 10.53 mm (SD 0.51). The space reduced by less than 0.5 mm to 9.95 mm (SD 1.50) at age 17-18 years. If primary molars are present at 20 years of age they appear to have a good prognosis for long-term survival.

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