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Am J Orthod Dentofacial Orthop. 2009 Sep;136(3):318.e1-9; discussion 318-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ajodo.2009.02.017.

Oropharyngeal airway in children with Class III malocclusion evaluated by cone-beam computed tomography.

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Research associate, Developmental Medicine, Health Research Course, Graduate School of Medical and Dental Sciences, Kagoshima University, Kagoshima, Japan.



Upper airway size is increasingly recognized as an important factor in malocclusion. However, children with Class III malocclusion are somewhat neglected compared with those with a Class II skeletal pattern. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to establish the characteristic shape of the oropharyngeal airway (OA) in children with Class III malocclusion.


The sample comprised 45 children (average age, 8.6 +/- 1.0 years) divided into 2 groups: 25 with Class I and 20 with Class III malocclusions. OA size of each group was evaluated by cone-beam computed tomography. Cluster analysis, based on OA shape, redivided the subjects into wide, square, and long types. The distributions of Class I and Class III subjects were compared among the types.


The Class III group showed statistically larger OA area and width compared with the Class I group. Area was positively correlated with Class III severity. The square type included 84% of the Class I malocclusions but only 30% of the Class III malocclusions, indicating that the OA in Class III malocclusion tends to be flat.


The Class III malocclusion is associated with a large and flat OA compared with the Class I malocclusion.

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