A systematic review of the consequences of premature birth on palatal morphology, dental occlusion, tooth-crown dimensions, and tooth maturity and eruption

Department of Orthodontics, Faculty of Odontology, Malmö University, Malmö, Sweden.
The Angle Orthodontist (Impact Factor: 1.23). 05/2004; 74(2):269-79. DOI: 10.1043/0003-3219(2004)074<0269:ASROTC>2.0.CO;2
Source: PubMed


This systematic review addresses the question whether prematurity results in alteration of palatal morphology, dental occlusion, tooth-crown dimensions, and tooth maturation. A literature survey from the PubMed database covering the period from January 1966 to November 2002 used the Medical Subject Headings terms "infant, premature," and "infant, low birth weight" in combination with "jaws," "dental physiology," "dentition," and "tooth abnormalities." Controlled studies written in English and with definitions of premature birth according to the World Health Organization were selected. Two reviewers selected and extracted the data independently and also assessed the quality of the studies. The search strategy resulted in 113 articles, of which 13 met the inclusion criteria. Scientific evidence was found for altered palatal morphology in the short term among the premature children, and oral intubation was a contributing factor to the alterations. If corrected age was considered for the premature children, no delay in dental development and eruption was found compared with normally born children. Thus, the early birth of premature children must be taken in account when planning for orthodontic treatment. Because of the contradictory results and lack of longitudinal studies, the scientific evidence was too weak to answer the questions whether premature birth causes permanent alteration of palatal morphology, alteration of dental occlusion, and altered tooth-crown dimensions. To answer these questions and obtain reliable scientific evidence whether premature children are at risk for malocclusions from possible alterations of palatal morphology such as asymmetry and high arched palates, further well-designed controlled studies as well as longitudinal studies are needed.

1 Follower
22 Reads
  • Source
    • "It is important to note that corrected age around 40 gestational weeks was used (O'Neill, 2005), and the new atlas should be interpreted with this in mind. Birth is not an age, but an event that has no effect on dental formation stage (Backstrom et al., 2000; Paulsson et al., 2004; Ramos et al., 2006). If a child is born at 36 weeks and survives 1 month, its dental development will correspond to a full-term dentition. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to develop a comprehensive evidence-based atlas to estimate age using both tooth development and alveolar eruption for human individuals between 28 weeks in utero and 23 years. This was a cross-sectional, retrospective study of archived material with the sample aged 2 years and older having a uniform age and sex distribution. Developing teeth from 72 prenatal and 104 postnatal skeletal remains of known age-at-death were examined from collections held at the Royal College of Surgeons of England and the Natural History Museum, London, UK (M 91, F 72, unknown sex 13). Data were also collected from dental radiographs of living individuals (M 264, F 264). Median stage for tooth development and eruption for all age categories was used to construct the atlas. Tooth development was determined according to Moorrees et al. (J Dent Res 42 (1963a) 490–502; Am J Phys Anthropol 21 (1963b) 205–213) and eruption was assessed relative to the alveolar bone level. Intraexaminer reproducibility calculated using Kappa on 150 teeth was 0.90 for 15 skeletal remains of age <2 years, and 0.81 from 605 teeth (50 radiographs). Age categories were monthly in the last trimester, 2 weeks perinatally, 3-month intervals during the first year, and at every year thereafter. Results show that tooth formation is least variable in infancy and most variable after the age of 16 years for the development of the third molar. Am J Phys Anthropol, 2010. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2010 · American Journal of Physical Anthropology
  • Source
    • "Compared to the significant improvements in the survival rate of preterm infants, the knowledge on late consequences of orofacial development in these small patients is still unsatisfactory. A recently published systematic review concluded that further well-designed studies are needed [1]. Therefore, a fundamental analysis of existing methodologies, confounding factors, and outcomes seems motivated. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: It has been hypothesized that prematurity and adjunctive neonatal care is 'a priori' a risk for disturbances of palatal and orofacial development which increases the need for later orthodontic or orthognathic treatment. As results on late consequences of prematurity are consistently contradictory, the necessity exists for a fundamental analysis of existing methodologies, confounding factors, and outcomes of studies on palatal development in preterm and low birthweight infants. A search of the literature was conducted based on Cochrane search strategies including sources in English, German, and French. Original data were recalculated from studies which primarily dealt with both preterm and term infants. The extracted data, especially those from non-English paper sources, were provided unfiltered in tables for comparison (Parts 1 and 2). Morphology assessment of the infant palate is subject to non-standardized visual and metrical measurements. Most methodologies are inadequate for measuring a three-dimensional shape. Several confounding factors were identified as causes contributing to disturbances of palatal and orofacial development. Taking into account the abovementioned shortcomings, the following conclusions may be drawn for practitioners and prospective investigators of clinical studies. 1) The lack of uniformity in the anatomical nomenclature of the infant's palate underlines the need for a uniform definition. 2) Metrically, non-intubated preterm infants do not exhibit different palatal width or height compared to matched term infants up to the corrected age of three months. Beyond that age, no data on the subject are currently available. 3) Oral intubation does not invariably alter palatal morphology of preterm and low birthweight infants. 4) The findings on palatal grooving, height, and asymmetry as a consequence of orotracheal intubation up to the age of 11 years are inconsistent. 5) Metrically, the palates of orally intubated infants remain narrower posteriorly, beginning at the second deciduous molar, until the age of 11 years. Beyond that age, no data on the subject are currently available. 6) There is a definite need for further, especially metrical, longitudinal and controlled trials on palatal morphology of preterm and low birthweight infants with reliable measuring techniques. 7) None of the raised confounding factors for developmental disturbances may be excluded until evident results are presented. Thus, early orthodontic and logopedic control of formerly premature infants is recommended up to the late mixed dentition stage.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2005 · Head & Face Medicine
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The evidence on prematurity as 'a priori' a risk for palatal disturbances that increase the need for orthodontic or orthognathic treatment is still weak. Further well-designed clinical studies are needed. The objective of this review is to provide a fundamental analysis of methodologies, confounding factors, and outcomes of studies on palatal development. One focus of this review is the analysis of studies on the palate of the term newborn, since knowing what is 'normal' is a precondition of being able to assess abnormalities. A search profile based on Cochrane search strategies applied to 10 medical databases was used to identify existing studies. Articles, mainly those published before 1960, were identified from hand searches in textbooks, encyclopedias, reference lists and bibliographies. Sources in English, German, and French of more than a century were included. Data for term infants were recalculated if particular information about weight, length, or maturity was given. The extracted values, especially those from non-English paper sources, were provided unfiltered for comparison. The search strategy yielded 182 articles, of which 155 articles remained for final analysis. Morphology of the term newborn's palate was of great interest in the first half of the last century. Two general methodologies were used to assess palatal morphology: visual and metrical descriptions. Most of the studies on term infants suffer from lack of reliability tests. The groove system was recognized as the distinctive feature of the infant palate. The shape of the palate of the term infant may vary considerably, both visually and metrically. Gender, race, mode of delivery, and nasal deformities were identified as causes contributing to altered palatal morphology. Until today, anatomical features of the newborn's palate are subject to a non-uniform nomenclature. Today's knowledge of a newborn's 'normal' palatal morphology is based on non-standardized and limited methodologies for measuring a three-dimensional shape. This shortcoming increases bias and is the reason for contradictory research results, especially if pathologic conditions like syndromes or prematurity are involved. Adequate measurement techniques are needed and the 'normal palatal morphology' should be defined prior to new clinical studies on palatal development.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2005 · Head & Face Medicine
Show more