Facial soft tissue changes during the pre-pubertal and pubertal growth phase: a mixed longitudinal laser-scanning study

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Abstract

Background/objectives:

Facial soft tissues changes during growth roughly tend to mimic the underlying hard tissues, but not completely. The aim of this mixed longitudinal study was to assess facial growth among pre-pubertal and pubertal subjects without malocclusion using a non-invasive three-dimensional laser scanning system.

Subjects/methods:

Fifty-nine subjects (30 females and 29 males) aged at baseline 5.4–8.9 years with normal occlusion were clustered into the younger, older pre-pubertal, and pubertal groups according to age and the absence/presence of a standing height growth spurt. Three-dimensional facial images were obtained using laser scanners for five consecutive years. Several transversal, sagittal, and vertical parameters were assessed for between and within group comparisons.

Results:

Significant overall changes of almost all parameters were seen within each group (P < 0.05) without any group differences (P > 0.05). The younger pre-pubertal group showed greater annual growth rates of lip prominence; both pre-pubertal groups showed greater rates in facial middle third height. The pubertal group showed greater annual rates in facial profile angle changes during the growth peak.

Limitations:

A high standing height increment (7cm) was used as the threshold for subject allocation in the pubertal group.

Conclusions:

Soft tissue facial growth has generally similar amounts and rates irrespective of the pubertal growth spurt. Pre-pubertal subjects show greater annual rates of facial middle third height changes while pubertal subjects show greater annual rates of chin protrusion.

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