Mandibular growth, remodeling, and maturation during infancy and early childhood.
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OBJECTIVE: To describe the growth, maturation, and remodeling changes of the mandible during infancy and early childhood. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Seven Bolton-Brush Growth Study longitudinal cephalograms (N = 336) of each of 24 females and 24 males, taken between birth and 5 years of age, as well as early adulthood, were traced and digitized. Five measurements and nine landmarks were used to characterize mandibular growth, remodeling, and degree of adult maturity. RESULTS: Overall, mandibular length showed the greatest growth changes, followed by ramus height and corpus length. Corpus length was the most mature of the three linear measures; ramus height was less mature than overall mandibular length. The greatest growth rates occurred between 0.4-1 year; yearly velocities decelerated thereafter. The ramus remodeled superiorly only slightly more than it remodeled posteriorly. Male mandibles were significantly (P < or = .05) larger, displayed greater growth rates, and were significantly less mature than female mandibles. There were no significant differences in mandibular growth or maturation between Class I and Class II patients. CONCLUSIONS: The mandible displays decelerating rates of growth and a maturity gradient during infancy and early childhood, with males showing more growth and being more mature than females.