To evaluate maxillary dental arch dimensions in pre-school children with a complete unilateral cleft lip and palate (CUCLP) after early alveolar bone grafting.
Intercanine and intermolar widths, length of dental arch and mesiopalatal inclination of both maxillary segments were measured directly on the dental casts of 42 children (27 boys and 15 girls; mean age = 5.2 years, SD 0.5; Early-grafted group), 30 children (18 boys and 12 girls; mean age = 5.8 years, SD 0.8; Non-grafted group), and 40 children (25 boys and 15 girls, mean age = 5.8, SD 0.4; non-cleft Control group). Children from Early-grafted and Non-grafted groups had a CUCLP repaired with a one-stage closure of the entire cleft. An alveolar bone grafting was performed in the Early-grafted group between 2 and 4 years (mean = 2.4, SD 0.6). A one-way anova model with post hoc Tukey's multiple comparison procedures were used to identify intergroup differences.
The mesiopalatal inclination of the lesser segment in the Early-grafted group was decreased in comparison with the Non-grafted and Control groups. The intercanine width had a tendency to be reduced in the Early-grafted group relative to Non-grafted group.
Early bone grafting results in a larger collapse of the lesser segment than bone grafting carried out between 9 and 12 years of age.