Symmetry of palatal shape during the first year of life in healthy infants

R. Bruggink, F. Baan, G. J. C. Kramer, A. M. Kuijpers-Jagtman, S. J. Bergé, T. J. J. Maal, E. M. Ongkosuwito

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objectives: The purpose of this study was to quantify the symmetry of the alveolar process of the maxilla and palate during the first year of life in healthy infants with the help of a semiautomatic segmentation technique. Materials and methods: Maxillary plaster models of seventy healthy babies at 0, 3, 6, 9, and 12 months were collected and digitized. A semiautomatic segmentation tool was used to extract the alveolus and palate. The resulting model was aligned within a reference frame and mirrored on its medial plane. Distance maps were created and analyzed to compare and quantify the differences between the two hemispheres. Additional hemispherical width and area measurements were performed. An ANOVA test with additional post hoc tests was performed to check if the symmetry changed during development. Finally, the results were tested on intra- and interobserver variability. Results: The absolute mean inter-surface distance between the original and mirrored models in each age group ranged between 0.23 and 0.30 mm. Width and area analysis showed a small but significant larger left palatal hemisphere. ANOVA and post hoc tests showed no significant difference in symmetry between groups. Reliability analysis showed no significant differences between observers. Conclusions: This study showed that in this infant population, only a small degree of palatal asymmetry was present, which can be considered as normal and clinically irrelevant. Clinical relevance: The data from this study can be used in future comparative studies as reference data. Furthermore, modeling of these data can help in predicting the growth pattern, which may lead to improved treatment protocols for children with craniofacial anomalies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1069-1076
Number of pages8
JournalClinical oral investigations
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


  • Dental models
  • Diagnostic imaging
  • Imaging, three-dimensional
  • Maxillofacial development
  • Orthodontics

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