Premature loss of primary anterior teeth and its consequences to primary dental arch and speech pattern: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Int J Paediatr Dent. 2020 Nov;30(6):687-712. doi: 10.1111/ipd.12644. Epub 2020 Apr 20.


Background: Information about the functional and morphological consequences that occur following the premature loss of anterior teeth is still insufficient.

Aim: To evaluate the consequences in children's speech and arch integrity following premature loss of primary anterior teeth compared to those without premature losses.

Design: Electronic searches were performed based on the PECO criteria. Observational studies in children (P) who suffered premature loss or extraction of primary anterior teeth (E) compared to children presenting normal occlusion development (C) and the consequences to speech and dental arch perimeter (O) were included. Risk of bias and data extraction were performed. The meta-analysis evaluated the influence of premature loss of primary anterior teeth in articulatory speech disorders (distortion, omission, and substitution) and space loss in the dental arches. Random- and fixed-effect models were used, and heterogeneity was tested. The certainty of evidence was estimated using the GRADE approach.

Results: From a total of 2.234 studies, six studies were included in the qualitative synthesis, and four in speech disorders meta-analysis. Despite it was not possible to perform space loss meta-analysis due to the absence of available data, qualitative analysis showed that there was no space loss after premature loss of mandibular primary incisors; a space loss, however, could be observed in children who lost primary canines at an early stage of dental development. For speech disorders results, children who lost anterior tooth presented higher chance of suffering speech distortion, than children without tooth loss (OR 5.466 [1.689, 17.692] P = .005) with low certainty of evidence. On the other hand, there were no statistically differences between premature loss of primary anterior teeth and omission (OR (a) 1.157 [0.439, 3.049] P = .767 and (OR (b) 1.393 [0.434, 4.70] P = .577) or substitution (OR (a) 1.071 [0.581, 1.974] P = .827 and OR (b) 1.218 [0.686, 2.163] P = .5), both with very low certainty of evidence.

Conclusions: Premature loss of primary anterior teeth may affect children phonation causing speech distortion. Consequences of space loss to primary dental arch still need to be further studied. Despite the speech distortion results, included articles present low-level evidence-based quality, thus new studies should be performed.

Keywords: cuspid; incisor; orthodontic space closure; speech disorders; tooth loss; tooth primary.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Dental Arch*
  • Humans
  • Incisor
  • Mandible
  • Speech*
  • Tooth, Deciduous