Geometric morphometric analysis of growth patterns among facial types



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American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics









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Introduction: Extreme patterns of vertical facial divergence are of great importance to clinicians because of their association with dental malocclusion and functional problems of the orofacial complex. Understanding the growth patterns associated with vertical facial divergence is critical for clinicians to provide optimal treatment. This study evaluates and compares growth patterns from childhood to adulthood among 3 classifications of vertical facial divergence using longitudinal, lateral cephalograms from the Craniofacial Growth Consortium Study. Methods: Participants (183 females, 188 males) were classified into 1 of 3 facial types on the basis of their adult mandibular plane angle (MPA): hyperdivergent (MPA >39°; n = 40), normodivergent (28° ≤ MPA ≤ 39°; n = 216), and hypodivergent (MPA <28°; n = 115). Each individual had 5 cephalograms between ages 6 and 20 years. A set of 36 cephalometric landmarks were digitized on each cephalogram. Landmark configurations were superimposed to align 5 homologous landmarks of the anterior cranial base and scaled to unit centroid size. Growth trajectories were calculated using multivariate regression for each facial type and sex combination. Results: Divergent growth trajectories were identified among facial types, finding more similarities in normodivergent and hypodivergent growth patterns than either share with the hyperdivergent group. Through the use of geometric morphometric methods, new patterns of facial growth related to vertical facial divergence were identified. Hyperdivergent growth exhibits a downward rotation of the maxillomandibular complex relative to the anterior cranial base, in addition to the increased relative growth of the lower anterior face. Conversely, normodivergent and hypodivergent groups exhibit stable positioning of the maxilla relative to the anterior cranial base, with the forward rotation of the mandible. Furthermore, the hyperdivergent maxilla and mandible become relatively shorter and posteriorly positioned with age compared with the other groups. Conclusions: This study demonstrates how hyperdivergent growth, particularly restricted growth and positioning of the maxilla, results in a higher potential risk for Class II malocclusion. Future work will investigate growth patterns within each classification of facial divergence.