Dental arch width, overbite, and overjet in a Finnish population with normal occlusion between the ages of 7 and 32 years

Eur J Orthod. 2012 Aug;34(4):418-26. doi: 10.1093/ejo/cjr025. Epub 2011 Feb 28.


The aims of the present study were to provide data on growth changes in the dental arches from age 7 to 32 in Finns with untreated normal Angle Class I occlusions. The material consisted of 33 series of dental casts of 18 women and 15 men. The subjects had been examined and study models taken at the ages of 7, 10, 12, 15, and 32. Dental arch width, overbite, and overjet were measured. Our longitudinal findings show that both the dental arches of young adults are slightly narrowed from adolescence to 32 years of age. All increases in width dimensions took place before 15 years of age. The means of the changes were mostly small, in the order of 0.5 to a few millimetres. Variability in age changes was considerable. In both genders, each variable increased in some subjects and decreased in others during every age interval. Differences between growth changes in the mesial, distal, and gingival intermolar widths indicate that both the maxillary and the mandibular first molars rotate mesiolingually and that the maxillary first molars also become more upright during late occlusal development. We expect the present findings of the changes occurring in the arch dimensions of subjects with untreated normal occlusions to help clinicians in following up occlusal development, choosing an optimal treatment time, and making orthodontic treatment and retention plans. However, because of the wide variability, accurate prediction of future development cannot be made on the individual level.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cephalometry
  • Child
  • Cuspid / anatomy & histology*
  • Dental Arch / anatomy & histology
  • Dental Arch / growth & development*
  • Dental Occlusion*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Malocclusion*
  • Molar / anatomy & histology*
  • Reference Values