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Article: Volume 8 Number 4 Page 118 - October 2015

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  Orthodontic Update 32: 118-125

Orthodontics:  A Manual for Space Analysis in the Mixed Dentition

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Abstract: A review of the literature outlining the methods of space analysis and their efficacy was completed using PubMed. Four main methods of space analysis in the mixed dentition were explained and the advantages and limitations of each method was outlined. Prediction tables are effective when applied to the target population from which they were derived. In the case of patients who do not fit the population group from which the correlations are based, radiographic evaluation is the best approach, and computer analysis should be avoided unless a modified equation is available for that particular group. Practically, these modified equations offer the best approach, allowing for the early estimation of space utilizing the width of the mandibular incisors, hence not requiring the use of complex tables or radiographs. However, these methods do not take into account the changes in the anterior-posterior and transverse tooth positions. Moreover, some consider a universal figure for the mesial migration of the first permanent molars to be 1.7 mm, as proposed by Moyers, which has been disputed in the literature. There is evidence to support that the mesial migration of permanent molars following the loss of the primary dentition varies significantly between individuals. Overall, space analysis allows for the estimation of a child’s treatment need in relation to crowding and provides a quantitative guideline for the decision to space maintain or extract, depending on the clinical scenario. Although there are several methods which have been developed over the past years, they all have their limitations and these limitations should be considered when space analysis methods are used.

Clinical relevance: To provide a manual which will facilitate the prediction of the space requirement for unerupted permanent teeth, thus aiding in the diagnosis, treatment planning and management of crowding in the mixed dentition in children.

Author notes: Orla Carty, BA, BDentSc(Hons), MFD(RCSI), DipclinEd(RCPSG), Senior House Officer, Vanessa Creaven, BA, BDentSc(Hons), MFD(RCSI), Junior House Officer, Joe Hennessy, BA, BDentSc(Hons), MFD(RCSI), DClinDent(TCD), MOrth(RCSEdin), Specialist Orthodontist and Ebrahim A Al-Awadhi, BA, BDentSc(Hons), MSc, PhD, MFD(RCSI), MOrth(RCS Eng), FFD(RCSI), Consultant Orthodontist Dublin Dental University Hospital, 2 Lincoln Place, Dublin 2, Ireland.

Objective: To understand the various methods of space analysis and to learn how to apply this knowledge.

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