The lateral cephalometric radiograph supplies the clinician with valuable information regarding the facial skeletal morphology of the patient, provided that it is taken correctly. These radiographs should be taken while the patient is occluding in maximum intercuspation, failing which the exposure is often repeated, leading to an increase in patient radiation dose as well as added cost in time and materials. This study investigated the relationship between limited bite opening and selected cephalometric variables. Thirty-one dry skulls were used and five splints were constructed for each skull giving increments of bite opening from 0 to 5 mm. Six lateral radiographs per skull were taken at each increment of bite opening. The radiographs were traced and the points plotted using a reflex metrograph.
A linear relationship was found between bite opening and SNB, ANB, SN–mandibular plane, and SN–Y-axis angles. Errors in digitization, superimposition, and landmark identification were determined and found to be acceptable. Regression analysis produced a highly significant (P < 0.001) gradient for each of these angular relationships, allowing a set of correction factors to be produced, which can be applied to bite openings up to 5 mm.