A new study has shown that children born before the thirty third week of pregnancy have smaller on average teeth than those born after the thirty third week mark, and that the premature children often require more orthodontic interventions. This new information comes to us from the Faculty of Odontology at Malmö University in Sweden. The Faculty of Odontology at Malmö University in Sweden have actually been studying dental health of premature babies and children for years and has published several studies on the subject.
In the study conducted, those children who were born premature were examined after they grew into their full adult teeth. The study found that the premature children who were born before thirty three weeks had up to ten percent smaller teeth than the children in the control group which consisted of full term children. The study even found a positive correlation between premature children and small teeth, showing that the earlier a child was born, the more likely they were to have small teeth.
Liselotte Paulsson-Björnsson who was one of the researchers on this study, said “”We have examined how their teeth are developing and, among other things, we’ve looked at their bites. We’ve also checked their need for orthodontic adjustments and found that it is greater than in the control group, children born at full term,”
She also stated that the children with small teeth didn’t have any serious oral health problems because of their teeth, however there were aesthetics problems for many of the children. “When we examined the children we also saw that their teeth were farther apart. But these problems can be addressed. We can move teeth if the gaps between them are too large, and there is also good material to extend teeth if they’re too small.”
Dr. Paulsson-Björnsson also wanted to clarify that though this research is significant and may lead to further developments in dental technology and understanding, this research has been conducted on children born in the mid-90s. Because of the development of new technologies, the way we care for premature children has changed since then which could have an effect on the development of the children’s teeth. “…as care of premature children is under constant development, it’s not possible to automatically transfer my findings to children being born prematurely now.”
Dr. Paulsson-Björnsson is also planning to continue studying the children from this study by following their development into their teens. She hopes to study the quality of life that these children experience as a result of their dental status.
If you would like to make an appointment for your child with Dr. James A. Wells of South Charlotte Dentistry, please visit our contact us us page to make an appointment with his Ballantyne office, or call 704-759-0908.