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In BMC oral health ; h5-index 40.0

BACKGROUND : Facial esthetics is a major concern of orthodontic patients. This study aims to evaluate orthodontic treatment-related thickness changes of the masseter muscles and surrounding soft tissues and the potential factors that would influence these changes during orthodontic treatment in female adults.

METHODS : Forty-two female adult patients were included in this retrospective study and were divided into extraction (n = 22) and nonextraction (n = 20) groups. Pretreatment and posttreatment cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) images were superimposed and reconstructed. The thickness changes of the masseter area of facial soft tissue (MAS), masseter muscles (MM) and surrounding fat tissue (FT) were measured. Pretreatment age, treatment duration, sagittal relationship (ANB), and vertical relationship (Frankfort-mandibular plane angle, FMA)-related MAS, MM and FT changes were compared between extraction and nonextraction groups. Spearman's correlation coefficient was calculated between the above variables. Regression analysis was conducted to confirm the causal relations of the variables.

RESULTS : The thickness of MAS and MM significantly decreased in both groups, with larger decreases (> 1 mm) in the extraction group. There were strong correlations (r > 0.7) between the thickness decrease in MAS and MM in both groups and moderate correlations (r > 0.4) between MAS and FT in the nonextraction group. A significantly greater decrease of MAS and MM were found to be moderately correlated with a smaller FMA (r > 0.4) in the extraction group. Scatter plots and regression analysis confirmed these correlations.

CONCLUSIONS : Masseter muscles and the surrounding soft tissue exhibited a significant decrease in thickness during orthodontic treatment in female adults. Low-angle patients experienced a greater decrease in soft tissue thickness in the masseter area in the extraction case. But the thickness changes were clinically very small in most patients.

Pan Yichen, Chen Si, Shen Linhui, Pei Yuru, Zhang Yungeng, Xu Tianmin


CBCT, Computer-assisted image processing, Machine learning, Masseter muscles