Dental arch size in healthy human permanent dentitions: ethnic differences as assessed by discriminant analysis.

V. F. Ferrario, C. Sforza, A. Colombo, R. Carvajal, V. Duncan, H. Palomino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Race and ethnicity variably influence the form of the human craniofacial complex. In the present study, the effects of ethnicity and sex on the global size of normal adult dental arches were analyzed. The dental arches of 47 northern Chilean mestizos (25 men, 22 women) and 95 northern Italian Caucasians (50 men, 45 women) were cast in stone. All subjects had a complete dentition in both arches. In all models the coordinates of dental cusp tips were digitized using an image analyzer. The center of gravity of each tooth was computed and arches were interpolated using a polynomial model (y = ax + bx2 + cx3 + dx4). In all arches, the intercanine, intermolar, and mid-intercanine to mid-intermolar distances were computed from the dental centers of gravity. These arch distances were entered in a linear discriminant function analysis. The polynomial model accurately interpolated data points in all instances, and most of the dental arch form was determined by the first and second degree coefficients. On average, Italian Caucasian arches were smaller than Chilean mestizo arches. Male mean distances were larger than female distances regardless of ethnic group or arch. The linear discriminant analysis performed between male and female arches within ethnic groups was significant only for both Italian Caucasian arches, but the percentage errors for the classification of a new individual were very high (about 30%). Conversely, Italian Caucasian arches could always be discriminated from Chilean mestizo arches of the same sex with a much smaller error.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-162
Number of pages10
JournalThe International journal of adult orthodontics and orthognathic surgery
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1999


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