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Individual Tooth Width

Range and Mean Distribution Frequency

Learning Objectives: 

This lecture will discuss the clinical significance of tooth biometry and distribution frequency, in which size for tooth restoration may vary among patients of different age, race, or sex. Upon watching this video, the viewer should:

  • Become more familiar with the range of individual tooth width of the maxillary anterior dentition, and the mean distribution frequencies within a given population of patients.
  • Understand whether gender differences exist for the maxillary anterior teeth, and if age and racial background affect tooth size.

Proper diagnosis of tooth size for each patient is critical in treatment planning for aesthetic restorative dentistry. The goal of this study was to determine the clinically relevant range and mean distribution frequency of individual tooth width of the maxillary anterior dentition within a given population of patients. Mean values for restoration of tooth size were not interchangeable for the different group size of patients or respective tooth groups. The results of this study suggest that there exists a range value of maxillary anterior tooth width for both males and females.

A normal distribution of individual tooth width size exists for a given population of male and female patients. Only 35% of the population is clustered around the mean. Expanding the range of the mean by +0.5 mm, however, will increase the occurrence within the population to about 60%. Including both +0.5 mm and -0.5 mm in the range will further increase the occurrence rate to approximately 80%. Mean values and normal distribution differed significantly between genders, with females consistently 0.5 mm to 1 mm smaller than males. Further research, however, is needed with larger population sizes to determine if race or age also affects this outcome of gender with respect to the width of the anterior teeth. These findings have significant clinical relevance in that proper tooth biometry exists for each patient; individual tooth size must therefore be identified prior to any attempt to create an aesthetic smile via dental restorations. 

*Clinical Associate Professor and Director, Advanced and International Programs in Aesthetic Dentistry, Department of Implant Dentistry, New York University College of Dentistry, New York, NY; Section Editor of Prosthdontics, PPAD; private practice, New York, NY.

Related Reading: 

  1. Bolton WA. Disharmony in tooth size and its relation to the analysis and treatment of malocclusion. Angle Orthod 1958;28(3):113-130.  
  2. Bolton WA. The clinical application of tooth-size analysis. Am J Orthodont 1962;48:504-529.
  3. Chu SJ, Karabin S, Mistry S. Short tooth syndrome: Diagnosis, etiology, and treatment management. CDA J 2004;32(2):143-152.
  4. Black GV. Descriptive anatomy of the human teeth. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: S.S. White Dental Manufacturing Co; 1897.
  5. Sterrett JD, Oliver T, Robinson F, et al. Width/length ratios of normal clinical crowns of the maxillary anterior dentition in man. J Clin Periodontol 1999;26(3):153-157.
  6. Kraus BS. Dental Anatomy and Occlusion. St. Louis, MO: Mosby-Year Book, Inc; 1991.
  7. Magne P, Gallucci GO, Belser UC. Anatomic crown width/length ratios of unworn and worn maxillary teeth in white subjects. J Prosthet Dent 2003;89(5):453-461.
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