To study maxillary arch width in adult patients with bilateral cleft lip and alveolus (BCLA) or with complete bilateral cleft lip and palate (BCLP), who have not had any surgery. SETTING AND SAMPLING POPULATION: Eighteen patients with BCLA, 13 patients with BCLP, and 24 controls from remote areas of Indonesia collected over 10 years.
Dental casts were digitized three-dimensionally using an industrial coordinate measuring machine (CCM) (Zeiss Numerex; Carl Zeiss, Stuttgart, Germany). Transversal distance between molars was measured on the tip of the distobuccal cusp and the tip of the mesiobuccal cusp, and for premolars and canines, the tip of the buccal cusps was recorded. Means and standard deviations were calculated for all variables. t-Test was used to determine whether the mean values of the cleft groups showed significant differences from each other and from the controls. Level of significance was set at p < 0.05.
Transversal arch dimensions in the BCLA group were comparable to the controls except at the canine level. Intercanine distance, which is close to the alveolar cleft, was 4.3 mm (SE 1.4) smaller in the BCLA group (p = 0.002). In the BCLP group, a comparable pattern was found. At the canine level, mean transversal width was 7.2 mm (SE 1.9) smaller compared to the control group, but no significant differences were found in the other transversal dimensions.
Small differences are found in transversal dimensions in patients with BCLA and BCLP compared to a control group. Differences are most outspoken in the area near the cleft.