Dental arch space changes following premature loss of primary first molars: a systematic review

Pediatr Dent. 2008 Jul-Aug;30(4):297-302.


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to consider the available evidence regarding premature loss of primary molars and the implications for treatment planning.

Methods: Electronic database searches were conducted--including published information available until July 2007--for available evidence. A methodological quality assessment was also applied.

Results: Although a significant number of published articles had dealt with premature primary molar loss, only 3 studies (including a total combined sample of 80 children) had the minimal methodological quality to be considered for this systematic review.

Conclusion: A reported immediate space loss of 1.5 mm per arch side in the mandible and 1 mm in the maxilla--when normal growth changes were considered--was found. The magnitude, however, is not likely to be of clinical significance in most cases. Nevertheless, in cases with incisor and/or lip protrusion or a severe predisposition to arch length deficiency prior to any tooth loss, this amount of loss could have treatment implications.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Dental Arch / pathology*
  • Dentition, Mixed
  • Humans
  • Malocclusion / etiology*
  • Molar
  • Space Maintenance, Orthodontic*
  • Tooth Extraction / adverse effects
  • Tooth Loss / complications*
  • Tooth Migration / etiology*
  • Tooth, Deciduous