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3D Analysis of Tooth Movement Using 3D Technology


Purpose of Review

3D cone beam imaging (CBCT) has allowed clinicians to better understand the anatomical variations of cranial anatomy. One crucial aspect of this technology plays is the understanding of alveolar bone morphology and remodeling. Variations in cortical bone thickness between individuals have been reported. No published study has analyzed the relationship between cortical bone thickness and rate of tooth movement. The aim of this study is to begin answering the question: is there an association between rate of tooth movement and cortical bone thickness?

Recent Findings

Twenty-three patients underwent extraction of a single premolar in each of the four quadrants prior to orthodontic therapy. Routine clinical records including 3D CBCT images were acquired of all patients prior to first premolar extractions. Rate of tooth movement in each quadrant for each patient was determined via mesiodistal millimetric measurements obtained by a single calibrated operator. With CBCT images, cortical bone thickness was measured at various levels from the alveolar crest along the long axis of the to-be-extracted first premolars. The association between cortical bone thickness and rate of tooth movement was analyzed. Statistically significant associations were found between rate of tooth movement and cortical bone thickness at levels 2 mm, 5 mm, and 8 mm, apical to the alveolar crest in both the right and left maxillary quadrants (p < 0.05). Statistically significant associations were found between rate of tooth movement and cortical bone thickness at levels 5 mm and 8 mm apical to the alveolar crest in both mandibular quadrants (p < 0.05). Increased cortical bone thickness was associated with decreased rate of tooth movement. There was no statistically significant association between rate of tooth movement and cortical bone thickness 2 mm apical to the alveolar crest of the to-be-extracted first premolars in the mandibular left nor right quadrants (p > 0.05).


Results suggest an inverse relationship may exist between cortical bone thickness and rate of tooth movement in both the maxilla and mandible. Cortical bone thickness may have the potential to serve as a predictive tool for rate of orthodontic tooth movement.

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Data Availability

The datasets used and/or analyzed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.



cone-beam computed tomography


tumor necrosis factor-α




receptor activator of nuclear factor kappa-beta ligand




parathyroid hormone


institutional review board


Little’s Index of irregularity


standard deviation


intra-class correlation coefficient


average rates of premolar extractions site closure


extraction site closure duration


extraction site mesiodistal dimension


total cortical bone width


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Statistical analysis was supported by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under award number UL1TR001417.

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Authors and Affiliations



CHK obtained consent from all patients, obtained CBCT images of all patients, treated all patients, obtained all clinical measurements, and provided guidance in writing the manuscript. DCW obtained radiographic measurements and was a major contributor in writing the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Chung How Kau.

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Conflict of Interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

All participants consented to publication of de-identified data reported in this study. 1142185 is the reference number for consent to participate documentation.

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This article is part of the Topical Collection on Craniofacial Skeleton

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Kau, C.H., Cruz Wilma, D.A. 3D Analysis of Tooth Movement Using 3D Technology. Curr Osteoporos Rep (2020).

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  • 3D CBCT
  • Premolar extraction
  • Dental radiography
  • Tooth movement
  • Retrospective analysis