Enamel thickness of the posterior dentition: its implications for nonextraction treatment.
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This study describes mesial and distal enamel thickness of the permanent posterior mandibular dentition. The sample comprised 98 Caucasian adults (59 males, 39 females) 20 to 35 years old. Bitewing radiographs of the right permanent mandibular premolars and first and second molars were illuminated and transferred to a computer at a fixed magnification via a video camera. Enamel and dentin thicknesses were identified and digitized on the plane representing the maximum mesiodistal diameter of each tooth. The results showed that there were no significant sex differences in either mesial or distal enamel thickness. Enamel on the second molars was significantly thicker (0.3 to 0.4 mm) than enamel on the premolars. Distal enamel was significantly thicker than mesial enamel. There was approximately 10 mm of total enamel on the four teeth combined. Assuming 50% enamel reduction, the premolars and molars should provide 9.8 mm of additional space for realignment of mandibular teeth.