Space changes after premature loss of deciduous molars among Brazilian children

Am J Orthod Dentofacial Orthop. 2011 Dec;140(6):771-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ajodo.2011.04.023.


Introduction: The use of space maintainers after the premature loss of deciduous molars is routine in pediatric dentistry. However, there is a need for evidence offering a better scientific basis for prescribing these appliances. In this study, we aimed to assess dimensional changes in the dental arches after the premature loss of deciduous molars.

Methods: A sample of 55 children between 6 and 9 years of age with unilateral loss of either first or second molars was followed for 10 months by clinical examination, cast analysis, and radiographic analysis. The space in the extraction site, arch length, and hemi-perimeter of the extraction and control sides were measured. Intraexaminer agreement was high (0.990). The data were analyzed by using the F test (analysis of variance), Bonferroni test, least significant difference, and Student t test.

Results: Only the group of children with premature loss of the mandibular second deciduous molars exhibited significant dimensional alterations during the follow-up.

Conclusions: The findings emphasize a need for the judicious indication for space maintainers. The major effect on the dental arches occurred in the first 3 months after the extraction of the deciduous molars, indicating that these appliances should be fitted during this period.

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Child
  • Dental Arch / pathology*
  • Endpoint Determination
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Molar / surgery*
  • Space Maintenance, Orthodontic / statistics & numerical data*
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Time Factors
  • Tooth Extraction*
  • Tooth, Deciduous / surgery*