Dental anomalies and their therapeutic implications: retrospective assessment of a frequent finding in patients with cleft lip and palate

BMC Oral Health. 2022 Dec 1;22(1):553. doi: 10.1186/s12903-022-02606-3.


Background: Orofacial clefts are characterized by a frequent occurrence of dental anomalies. Numerous studies demonstrate the high prevalence of dental aplasia, supernumerary teeth, and hypoplastic teeth in patients with cleft lip with/without cleft palate (CL/P), yet the therapeutic consequences are rarely discussed. This study explores prevalence, localization, and association between primary and secondary dentition in a large European collective and begins to evaluate the significance of dental anomalies in the therapeutic course of patients with CL/P.

Methods: The medical reports of 1070 patients with different entities of CL/P who presented to our clinic within a 15-year investigation period were evaluated retrospectively. Dental anomalies were classified into three different diagnostic groups: dental aplasia, supernumerary teeth and hypoplastic teeth. The statistical analyses included studies of the frequency and localization of dental anomalies in different cleft entities as well as of the association between primary and secondary dentition and the therapeutic consequences.

Results: Uni- or bilateral cleft lip and palate (CLP) (47.5%) occurred most frequently, followed by cleft palate only (CPO) (32.9%) and cleft lip with or without alveolus (CL ± A) (19.6%). Dental anomalies were found significantly more often on the side of the cleft. Aplastic permanent teeth were mostly found in patients with CLP (54.8%), while supernumerary permanent teeth occurred primarily in patients with CL ± A (21.7%). Patients with CPO presented dental aplasia but no patient with CPO showed supernumerary teeth. The occurrence of dental aplasia in the primary dentition significantly increases the probability of aplastic teeth in the permanent dentition. Dental anomalies, in particular dental aplasia, significantly increase patients' need for subsequent orthodontic therapy and orthognathic surgery.

Conclusion: Dental aplasia and hypoplasia are common in patients with CL/P not only in the cleft area but in the whole dentition. In the event of dental aplasia in the primary dentition, the frequency of aplastic teeth in the permanent dentition is significantly higher. Additionally, the need for therapeutic interventions, especially concerning orthognathic surgery, seems to be significantly higher in patients with CL/P who are affected by dental anomalies. Clinicians should take this into account when creating long-term treatment plans.

Keywords: CPO; Cleft lip/palate; Dental aplasia; Hypoplastic teeth; Orthodontic therapy; Orthognathic surgery; Supernumerary teeth.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cleft Lip* / complications
  • Cleft Lip* / epidemiology
  • Cleft Palate* / complications
  • Cleft Palate* / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tooth, Supernumerary* / complications
  • Tooth, Supernumerary* / epidemiology