A computerized photographic assessment of the relationship between skeletal discrepancy and mandibular outline asymmetry

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The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between mandibular outline asymmetry and skeletal discrepancy in a sample of orthodontic patients (33 females, 33 males) aged from 8 to 19 years. Skeletal discrepancy was assessed in both the anteroposterior and vertical planes, using standard cephalometric analyses. All were photographed under standardized conditions and the photographs were then digitized for analysis using a computerized system to assess differences in four variables (area, perimeter, compactness and moment-ratio) between the right and left sides of the mandibular outline.The results showed good repeatability of the photographic, cephalometric and digitization methods. A statistically significant relationship was found between mandibular outline asymmetry and both anteroposterior and vertical skeletal discrepancy in this sample, when compared with patients with an average skeletal pattern. There appeared to be a statistically significant relationship between a reduced ANB angle (<3 degrees) and mandibular outline asymmetry (P=0.051), as well as between an increase in lower face height and mandibular asymmetry (P=0.023).

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