Buccolingual angulation and intermolar width changes in the maxillary first molars of untreated growing children

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Buccolingual inclinations of the maxillary permanent molars and intermolar widths increase with growth for Class I subjects. Changes for untreated Class II subjects have not yet been assessed. The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that changes in palatal inclination of the maxillary molars and intermolar width throughout growth vary between Class I and Class II molar occlusions.


Patients were selected from the Forsyth/Moorrees Twin Study. Dental models taken for 6 consecutive years of 55 untreated subjects (28 with Angle Class I and 27 with Angle Class II occlusion) were scanned. The images were superimposed on the palatal rugae, and the angle between a reference plane and the buccolingual inclination plane was used to calculate the buccolingual molar inclination at each time point. The distance between lingual groove points was used to calculate the intermolar width.


All molars showed increasing palatal inclinations over the 6 years. The change for each time interval was statistically significant. Class I subjects demonstrated significantly greater palatal inclination at each time point. The molar inclination changed by means of 4.99° for Class I subjects and 6.25° for Class II subjects. Intermolar width increased continuously (P <0.001) and was significantly greater (P <0.05) for Class I patients.


These results suggest that palatal inclination of the maxillary permanent first molars occurs continuously between ages 9 and 14 years, with Class II subjects showing greater changes. The intermolar width increases steadily during this time, with Class II subjects having a narrower intermolar width and less change over time.

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