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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Dental and craniofacial findings in prematurely born children with non-invasive ventilation : a pilot study Lui, Carol Karmen


Objective: This prospective pilot study aims to evaluate the craniofacial complex of prematurely-born children. Subjects are in the 3 and 4.5 year old cohorts, and participate in the Neonatal Follow-Up Program of B.C. Women’s Hospital, Canada. The specific aims of this project are to: 1. Characterize the complete primary dentition, 2. Relate the presence of enamel defects with premature birth and its associated therapies, 3. Characterize the three-dimensional facial morphology, 4. Correlate neonatal parameters to facial morphology, 5. Evaluate the feasibility for a full-scale longitudinal project, 6. Determine the role of dentistry in the care or prematurely born children. Methods: Subjects had medical histories collected, underwent a dental screening, and had their facial features recorded with a stereophotogrammetric camera. Dental and medical data were analyzed, and software was used to landmark features on the face, and perform traditional morphometric analyses. Linear facial distances were compared to normative data of age-matched children born full-term. Results: 27 children had facial images collected, including 23 patients who also underwent oral screenings. With regard to oral screenings, all subjects had a complete primary dentition, 43.5% had enamel defects on at least one tooth surface, and the mean dmfs score was 2.35. No significant associations were found between enamel defects, birth parameters, and medical therapies. For facial images, the mean gestational age was 26.3 months, and mean duration for non-invasive ventilation was 84.5 days. Significant differences in facial distances were present in the midface and eye regions in comparison to normative data. No significant correlations were noted between these facial distances and birth parameters. Conclusion: This is the first study to examine the complete primary dentition of prematurely-born children. The presence of enamel defects is in the expected range from literature and larger studies are recommended to examine the location and pattern of these defects. Compared to age-matched control, significant facial differences were present. Further investigation exploring different contributing factors may be worthwhile to determine true correlations and causations, and the role of dentistry for prematurely born children. At B.C. Women’s Hospital, a longitudinal study incorporating dentistry and facial morphometrics is feasible in the NFUP.

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