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Eur J Orthod. 2013 Aug;35(4):475-82. doi: 10.1093/ejo/cjs034. Epub 2012 May 10.

Dento-alveolar characteristics in adolescents born extremely preterm.

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Department of Pediatric Dentistry, Institute of Odontology, The Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Göteborg, Sweden.


It has been shown that children born extremely preterm (EPT) often suffer from medical complications and growth restrictions in early childhood. Catchup growth diminishes these effects but the children are known to have lower weight, height, and head circumference as school children. Effects on enamel development have been shown. How this affects the dento-alveolar outcome during adolescence is not known. Forty EPT children with a gestational age (GA) of less than 29 weeks, at 12-16 years of age, and matched healthy controls born at term, with a GA of 37-43 weeks, were examined. Data from the clinical examination, dental casts, and bitewing radiographs were collected and compared. Malocclusion was noted, and dento-alveolar length, width, palatal height, and mesio-distal tooth width were measured. Medical diagnoses, neurological, and neuropsychiatric disturbances were noted at the time of the survey. The two groups were compared with an epidemiological normal reference material. The results showed no differences between the controls and reference material. Angle Class II was the most frequent malocclusion associated with morbidity, neurological, and neuropsychiatric disturbances, followed by deep bite and overjet. Three or more malocclusions were almost twice as common among the EPT children compared with the controls. Significantly smaller incisors, canines, and first molars were found. In summary, the EPT children, during adolescence, had medical aberrations as well as dento-alveolar effects opposed to the healthy children born at term. Dentists should be aware of this and treatment plans should be made in due time.

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