Preterm Infants - Odontological Aspects

University dissertation from University of Gothenburg

Abstract: ABSTRACT Preterm birth is associated with medical complications and treatments postnatally and disturbances in growth and development. Primary and permanent teeth develop during this postnatal period. The overall aim of the present thesis was to elucidate the effects of preterm birth and postnatal complications on oral health and the dentoalveolar development during adolescence, and to study the effects of preterm birth on caries during childhood, in a well-defined group of preterm infants. In the same group, explore the development of the primary and permanent teeth and compare the results with a matched control group and control teeth. The subjects consisted of 40(45) of 56 surviving infants, born <29 weeks of gestational age (GA), and matched healthy children born at term. The material consisted of 44 teeth from 14 of the preterm adolescents and 36 control teeth from healthy children. Clinical examinations and dental cast analysis were performed during adolescence and morbidity was noted. Retrospective information from medical and dental records was obtained. Dental enamel was analyzed in a polarized light microscopy, and scanning electron microscopy. Further, chemical analyses of enamel and dentin were performed with X-ray microanalysis. The results showed that during adolescence, more preterms had plaque and gingival inflammation, lower salivary secretion, more S. mutans and severe hypomineralization. Retrospectively, less caries was noted at six years of age, but more children had hypomineralization in the primary dentition. Angle Class II malocclusion, large over-bite and deep bite associated with medical diagnoses were frequent. Furthermore, smaller dental arch perimeters in girls, at 16 years of age, and smaller tooth size in the incisors, canines and first molars were found. The morphological findings were confirmed in the XRMA analyses. In postnatal enamel, varying degrees of porosities >5% and incremental lines were seen. Lower values of Ca and Ca/C ratio and higher values of C were found. Ca/P ratio in both enamel and dentine indicates normal hydroxyapatite in both groups. No single medical diagnosis, postnatal treatment or morbidity in adolescents could explain the findings. As a conclusion, there are indications for poor oral outcome in this group of preterm infants during adolescence, and disturbed mineralization in primary teeth

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