The objectives of this study were to investigate if a relationship exists between dental arch width and the vertical facial pattern determined by the steepness of the mandibular plane, and to examine the differences in dental arch widths between male and female untreated adults. Lateral cephalograms and dental casts were obtained from 185 untreated Caucasians (92 males, 93 females) between 18 and 68 years of age with no crossbite, minimal crowding, and spacing. The angle of the mandibular plane (MP) to the anterior cranial base (SN) was measured on cephalograms of each patient. Dental casts were used to obtain comprehensive dental measurements including maxillary and mandibular intercanine, interpremolar, and intermolar widths, as well as the amount of crowding or spacing. The arch widths of males and females were analysed and the differences between them were tested for significance using a Student's t-test. Regression analysis was used to determine the statistical significance of the relationships between MP–SN angle and dental arch width and crowding or spacing.
The results showed that male arch widths were significantly larger than those of females (P < 0.05). For both males and females, there was a trend that as MP–SN angle increased, arch width decreased. It was concluded that dental arch width is associated with gender and facial vertical morphology. Thus, using individualized archwires according to each patient's pre-treatment arch form and width is suggested during orthodontic treatment.