Cephalometric analysis of condylar adaptations to altered mandibular position in adult rhesus monkeys, Macaca mulatta.
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Morphological adaptation to altered position of the mandible was investigated in 19 young adult rhesus monkeys (n = 10 experiment and 9 control). The experimental animals had a bite-splint cemented to the maxillary dentition which opened the bite interincisally by 15 mm and was worn continuously for 48 weeks. Lateral radiographic cephalograms were taken prior to the experiment and at 12-week intervals thereafter. Computerized cephalometry, facilitated by the use of radio-opaque bone markers, was used to assess changes in mandibular position and morphology. An immediate effect of the bite-splint was the clockwise rotation (opening) of the mandible and anterior translation of the condyle on the articular eminence, much as occurs normally during jaw depression. During the next 48 weeks, the mandible (1) rotated anti-clockwise (closed) due mainly to antero-superior displacement of the maxilla and intrusion of the mandibular dentition and (2) underwent a significant increase in length (p less than 0.05). These findings indicate that the mandibular condyle of young adult monkeys is capable of small, but biologically significant, compensatory growth after displacement.