Long-term stability of Class I premolar extraction treatment.
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This study evaluates Class I, 4-premolar-extraction patients who were treated with the edgewise appliance by 1 practitioner, according to the philosophy of Tweed, and who had been out of retention a minimum of 5 years. The sample includes 32 patients, who started treatment at an average age of 12.8 years and who were examined a mean of 15 years posttreatment (11.7 years postretention). Cephalometric and model analyses were conducted to evaluate treatment and posttreatment tooth movements. The results showed that irregularity, as measured by the irregularity index, decreased 5.3 mm during treatment and increased 0.7 mm (SD 1.1 mm) during the posttreatment period. Eighty percent of the patients had satisfactory (<3.5 mm) mandibular incisor alignment over 10 years postretention, and none was in the severe category (>6.5 mm). Mandibular intercanine width increased (1.7 mm) during treatment, whereas intermolar width decreased (-2.1 mm). Maxillary molar widths remained unchanged posttreatment, and mandibular intercanine width decreased 1.4 mm from immediately posttreatment to postretention. Arch lengths decreased during treatment because of molar protraction and incisor retraction. Mandibular arch length continued to decrease posttreatment (-1.4 mm) because of mesial molar movement rather than distal incisor movement. Satisfactory long-term results can be achieved for most Class I, 4-premolar-extraction patients for whom evidence-based treatment objectives-including minimal alteration of the mandibular arch form and the retraction and uprighting or maintenance of mandibular incisors in their original position-have been met.