Compensatory interactions between developing maxillary anterior teeth in a sample of twins Academic Article uri icon


  • Objectives

    The objective of this study was to revisit the topic of compensatory interactions between maxillary anterior teeth during development advanced by Sofaer et al. (1971). We addressed the hypotheses listed by Sofaer and colleagues using data derived from our Australian twin sample to investigate whether final tooth size in permanent maxillary central incisors and canines showed evidence of developmental compensation for adjacent missing or microdont lateral incisors. Such compensation is one factor interacting in the complex system of dental development.

    Materials and methods

    A 2D image analysis system was used to measure crown height from the labial view, labiopalatal crown width from the incisal view, and mesiodistal crown width from both the labial (MDl) and incisal (MDi) views of the permanent maxillary central incisors and canines on the dental study model of twins enrolled in a longitudinal study of dental development.


    Developmental variations of maxillary lateral incisors influence the morphogenesis of the adjacent teeth. For example, individuals with one missing lateral incisor and one lateral incisor of average dimensions, had significantly larger central incisors than the control group for the MDl and MDi dimensions (p < 0.05). Of the 7 monozygotic twin pairs, 6 were discordant in maxillary anterior hypodontia and microdontia, and 13 out of 14 dizygotic twin pairs were discordant.


    This study provides further evidence of developmental interactions in the maxillary anterior region, partially supporting Sofaer and colleagues' hypotheses. These interactions are part of a complex adaptive system involving genetic, epigenetic and environmental factors.

publication date

  • January 2019