Differences in craniofacial and dental characteristics of adolescent Mexican Americans and European Americans. Academic Article uri icon


  • INTRODUCTION: The purpose of this study was to compare the soft-tissue profiles of matched Class I adolescent European Americans and Mexican Americans. The secondary aim was to explain profile differences based on group differences in soft-tissue thickness, skeletal morphology, dental position, and tooth size. METHODS: The study pertained to 207 untreated Class I adolescents, including 93 Mexican Americans and 114 European Americans. Lateral cephalometric and model analyses were performed to quantify morphologic differences. Two-way analyses of variance were used to evaluate ethnicity, sex, and their interaction. RESULTS: Mexican Americans had significantly (P <0.05) greater lip protrusion and facial convexity than did European Americans. Mexican Americans had smaller craniofacial dimensions and larger teeth, resulting in maxillary and mandibular dentoalveolar protrusion. Mexican Americans also had thicker soft tissues and greater maxillary skeletal prognathism than European Americans. The combination of thicker soft tissues, maxillary skeletal prognathism, and dentoalveolar protrusion explained the protrusive lips of Mexican Americans. The greater facial convexity of Mexican Americans was due primarily to maxillary prognathism and mandibular hyperdivergence. Sex differences pertained primarily to size; the linear dimensions of the boys were consistently and significantly larger than those of the girls. CONCLUSIONS: European American normative data and treatment objectives do not apply to Mexican Americans. Knowledge of the soft-tissue, skeletal morphology, and dental position differences should be applied when planning treatment for Mexican American patients.

published proceedings

  • Am J Orthod Dentofacial Orthop

author list (cited authors)

  • Vela, E., Taylor, R. W., Campbell, P. M., & Buschang, P. H.

citation count

  • 25

complete list of authors

  • Vela, Eric||Taylor, Reginald W||Campbell, Phillip M||Buschang, Peter H

publication date

  • December 2011
  • January 1, 2011 11:11 AM