To determine if there are differences between the dental arch dimensions and occlusal characteristics of children born prematurely and admitted into a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) (study group) and children born at term (control group). The study group was analysed at the same time in order to find out if the parameters of the dental arches are related to specific perinatal variables.
Material and methods
Study design: Out of a total of 504 children born between 2011 and 2014 in high-risk conditions at the clinic of the University Hospital “San Cecilio” in Granada (Spain), 78 children were selected. Of these 42 had been born prematurely and admitted to the NICU (study group) and 36 had been born at term (control group). The age of the sample was 5 to 8 years. The parameters of the dental arches, together with the occlusal characteristics, were examined using dental casts. Both the upper and lower arches were measured for a total of 156 dental casts with a FINO digital caliper.
Statistically significant differences were found in the parameters for upper intercanine width (p=0.027), upper and lower intermolar width (p=0.009 and p=0.001, respectively) and lower perimeter (p=0.002). Statistically significant differences were not found for the occlusal parameters. In the study group, when the perinatal variables were correlated, a directly proportional correlation was found between the gestational age and birth weight variables, but this was inversely proportional for the NICU stay and need for intubation variables.
The data confirm the smaller size of the dental arch dimensions of children born prematurely and admitted to a NICU compared with children born at term. This fact should be taken into consideration with regard to future orthodontic and paediatric dentistry treatments.
Vol.22 – n.4/2021
Harvard: A. J. López-Jiménez, P. Beltri Orta, E. M. Martínez Pérez, P. Planells del Pozo (2021) "Characteristics of dental arches and occlusion in children born prematurely. A case-control study", European Journal of Paediatric Dentistry, 22(4), pp291-297. doi: 10.23804/ejpd.2021.22.04.6
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