Thin-plate spline analysis of arch form in a Southern European population with an ideal natural occlusion

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The purpose of the present study was to identify the mean configuration of the clinical arch form in a sample of Southern European subjects with ideal natural occlusion by means of Procrustes analysis, and to compare the identified configuration with 10 commercially produced arch forms by means of thin-plate spline (TPS) analysis.The sample comprised the study casts of 50 subjects (26 males and 24 females). The mean age of the sample was 26 years ± 4 years. All subjects were young Caucasian adults of Southern European ancestry, and presented with an ideal natural occlusion. The three-dimensional (3D) co-ordinates of all dental points (facial axis points) were digitized using a 3D electromagnetic digitizer. The morphometric technique of TPS analysis with permutation tests was used to compare the configurations of landmarks in the various specimens.No sexual dimorphism was found for either upper or lower arch forms when the shape of the arches was assessed independently from size. The commercially available arch form that showed the least, though statistically significant, shape difference with respect to the average calculated configuration was the Brader arch form.

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