Evaluating Changes in the Inter-Occlusal Space During Orthodontic Retention Stage

Veronica M. Toro
Chair of the Supervisor Committee:
Anne-Marie Bollen, Professor and Program Director
Department of Orthodontics

Introduction: This study measured post-treatment changes in the inter-occlusal space one month and three months after comprehensive orthodontic treatment: “settling”, using 3D images. The effects of patients’ demographics and retention were analyzed.

Methods: Intraoral scans were taken at debond, 1-month and 3-months retainer checks for 90 consecutively finished patients. A heat map was created with a 3D Software to measure the inter-occlusal changes. The changes in the total surface area in range, anterior and posterior areas, retainer type (occlusal coverage or not), age, and gender were compared.

Results: The Total Surface Area in range increased the first month (p<0.001) and from 1 month to 3 months (p>0.05). Anterior and posterior teeth experience changes in the inter-occlusal space during the 3-month period. There was an increase in occlusal contacts for patients wearing retainers without occlusal coverage. There was no influence of gender or age.

Conclusions: During the first month after the removal of orthodontic appliances, there is an increase in total surface area in range. The contact surface area of teeth within the -2mm to 0.25mm range of distance between the upper and lower teeth remains constant. Retainers without occlusal coverage allow changes in the inter-occlusal space.

Bio: Veronica was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico with her parents and big sister. Since she was a little girl, she had two passions: dogs (passion she got from her Mom), and straight teeth (which she definitely inherited from her Grandfather and Dad). Following in her Dad’s footsteps, she decided to become an Orthodontist. Veronica completed Dental School at the University of Puerto Rico School of Dental Medicine. In 2014, she was fortunate to join an amazing group of residents at the University of Washington for her Orthodontics Residency. She is grateful for the constant support, encouragement, education, and guidance the UW Ortho family gave her the past 3 years. Veronica is also very thankful for her family; it has been a very long journey, and she could not have done it without their support. Lastly, she would like to thank her Team 5 for all the support and tell them: “Guys, there is no team like ours! Let’s continue being awesome.”