Reprinted from AMERICAN JOURNAL OF ORTHODONTICS, St. Louis. Vol. 43. No 4 - Pages 291-293. April 1957

THE BURLINGTON ORTHODONTIC
RESEARCH CENTRE
F. POPOVICH, D.D.S., M.Sc.D.,(*)
BURLINGTON ONTARIO
 

PREVENTlVE measures are the most important factors in safeguarding the health of a person; nevertheless, in the practice of orthodonties the amount of valid information available on preventive methods is extremely small. An awareness of this need and the recognition of its importance prompted the Faculty of Dentistry at the University of Toronto to establish, in 1952, an Orthodontic Research Centre in Burlington, Ontario. Burlington was chosen for this study because it was close to the University of Toronto and was a typical small residential town (with a population of approximately 9,000). The Burlington Lions Club supplied the initial office space, while the project is financed by a grant-in-aid through the Federal Department of Health and Welfare, with some additional support from the Division of Dental Research, University of Toronto. The Centre has for its staff a geneticist, four orthodontists, two pedodontists, a technician ou a part-time basis, and a full-time secretary. The objectives of the project are:

1. To evaluate the application of interceptive orthodontic procedures to children on a serial basis beginning at 3 years of age. The actual treatment of dental caries is carried out by the local dentists, while the Research Centre treatment involves the use of space maintainers, space regainers, acrylic bite planes, cribs, lingual and labial arch wires, and monoblock type of appliance therapy. 2. To analyze and define the characteristics of normal and abnormal occlusion. 3. To assess the role of inheritance in determining a number of clinically significant characteristics of cranial and facial growth. 4. To compile a library of data for future studies.

MATERIAL POR THE STUDY AND EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN

The 1,265 children whose parents consented to their participation in the study are aged 3, 6, 8, 10 and 12 years, and represent 85 to 90 per cent of all Burlington children of these ages (Tables I and II). A complete set of records has been taken for the children in the control group aged 3, 6, 8, 10, and 12 years. These records serve as a control indicating the condition and the treatment needs of the children. The parents are advised concerning the child's need for operative or orthodontic treatment. For the serial study, annual records are being taken for the 320 3- and 4- year-old children as near as possible to their birthdays. The fourth set of these serial records is now being obtained and it is planned to continue taking annual records until the children reach a minimum of 12 years of age. Each child's facial development and occlusal status are assessed annually, and treatment is prescribed when necessary.

TABLE I. AGE AND SEX DISTRIBUTION OF CONTROL GROUP FOR WHOM A COMPLETE SET OF RECORDS IS ON FILE
 
AGE AT NEAREST
BIRTHDAY (YEARS)
MALE FEMALE TOTAL
3
134
104
236
6
167
136
303
8
96
126
222
10
112
107
219
12
116
102
218
Total
625
575
1,200
 
 
TABLE II. AGE AND SEX DISTRIBUTION OF SERIAL, GROUP FOR WHOM ANNUAL RECORDS HAVEN BEEN TAKEN TO DATE
 
SEX
3 YEARS 4 YEARS* 5 YEARS  6 YEARS  7 YEARS  8 YEARS
MALE
134
163
133
70
1
-
FEMALE
104
140
111
67
1
-
TOTAL
238
303
244
137
2
-
 
 

(*) Four-year-old were added to the initial 238 children begun as 3-year-old in order to insure a larger sample for the serial study.

DESCRIPTION OF RECORDS

The records, which are taken as close as possible to the month of the child's birthday, consist of the following:

1. Case history, which is a three-page medical and dental history. This information is collected by asking the same questions of each mother.

2. A clinical examination to assess growth and occlusion.

3. Six cephalometric radiograms employing the high-kilovoltage technique. These include: three literal radiograms-rest position, occlusal contact position, and open position; two oblique radiograms-left and right sides; and one anteroposterior position.

4. One wrist radiogram, for determining the carpal index.

5. Impressions and wax bite for dental casts.

6. Where necessary, periapical films are taken.

7. Height and weight records.

8. Electromyographic records are available for some persons. Although the evaluation of interceptive orthodontic treatment between the ages of 3 and 12 years is the initial aim of the study, the opportunities for other types of research provided by this project are considerable. The study offers, moreover, unique opportunities for the investigation of the role of inheritance in growth and development of the face. Since the sample includes many related children, and since similar records have been taken for each child, when the 3-year-old children reach 6 years of age, it will be possible to establish hereditability and probability values for certain characteristics. Since the initiation of the project four and one-half years ago, 2,211 complete sets of records have been taken and 120 children are undergoing treatment. Precise notes are recorded as to method of treatment used and the exact time spent on each case. ln addition, a number of research papers have been completed from the data so far accumulated, while a number of other problems are in the process of being investigated.

Now that the data are being analyzed, it is anticipated that the results obtained will in some measure clarify and add to our knowledge of facial growth and development. Significant studies regarding the role of heredity in problems of facial growth at various ages will have been completed in a few years' time. Moreover, data from this study may form a valuable guide in preventive and interceptive orthodontic treatment, when a comparison of the identical records is made between the treated serial group, their parents, and the untreated serial and cross-section groups of children.
 


 
 

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