How does tooth eruption relate to vertical mandibular growth displacement?
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INTRODUCTION: Our objectives were to investigate the eruptive patterns of the mandibular teeth and assess their associations with mandibular growth displacements. METHODS: Cephalograms for a mixed-longitudinal sample of 124 French-Canadian girls were evaluated between 10 and 15 years of age. Vertical mandibular displacement and mandibular eruption were evaluated by using cranial and mandibular superimpositions, respectively. Multilevel modeling procedures were used to estimate each subject's growth change over time. Stepwise multiple regressions were used to determine the amount and relative magnitudes of variations in mandibular eruption explained by mandibular growth displacement, controlling for vertical maxillary tooth movements. RESULTS: Cubic polynomial models explained between 91% and 98% of the variations in eruption and vertical growth displacement. All curves showed acceleration of eruption until approximately 12 years of age, after which eruption decelerated. The eruption of the mandibular teeth demonstrated greater relative variability than did vertical mandibular growth displacements. Independent of the overall movements of the maxillary molars, inferior mandibular growth displacement explained approximately 54% of the variation in mandibular molar eruption between 10.5 and 14.5 years of age. CONCLUSIONS: Inferior mandibular growth displacement and dental eruption followed similar patterns of change during adolescence. Based on their associations and the differences in variability identified, mandibular eruption appears to compensate for or adapt to growth displacements.