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Am J Orthod Dentofacial Orthop. 1991 Jan;99(1):49-56.

Quantitative description of the shape of the mandible.

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Orthodontic Department, Tufts University, School of Dental Medicine, Boston, Mass.


The purpose of this study was to provide quantitative data on the shape of the mandible at the period around the pubertal growth spurt and to test the hypothesis that early mandibular shape may influence the amount and direction of subsequent mandibular growth. Longitudinal data from lateral cephalograms of 55 white female and 39 white male subjects were used. The mandibular outline from articulare to gnathion was analyzed into cosine curves, according to the Fourier equation. The resulting Fourier coefficients, representing mandibular outline shape, were analyzed statistically in relation to age, sex, craniofacial pattern, and mandibular growth rotation. Statistically significant growth changes of the Fourier coefficients were observed, especially during the postpubertal period, indicating a decrease in the gonial angle with age. Sex-related differences in shape were observed at all ages, male subjects showing a more rounded shape of the mandible than female subjects. Mandibular shape, as represented by the Fourier coefficients, was correlated to cephalometric variables, indicating mandibular inclination, but only poorly to cephalometric variables, indicating anteroposterior jaw relation. Total rotation of the mandible during growth could not be predicted by mandibular shape.

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