More dental anomalies in the permanent teeth of individuals born with oral clefts


This aim of this review was to identify if patients individuals born with non-syndromic oral clefts had a higher frequency of dental anomalies.

Searches were conducted in Medline, BIREME, OVID all EBM Reviews, and the Cochrane Library. Papers reporting observational controlled studies of non-syndromic forms of oral clefts matched for dental anomalies in primary and/or permanent teeth were included without language restriction.

The methodological quality of the papers was assessed and scored. Eligible studies were scored as ‘A’- low risk of bias, ‘B’ – moderate risk of bias, or ‘C’ – high risk of bias and poor quality. Meta-analysis was conducted using fixed and random effects models.

Six studies, mostly of low to moderate quality met the selection criteria and were included in the meta-analysis.

Using a random effects model they found:

  • A significant association between tooth agenesis and oral clefts (OR=12.31, 95%CI 3.75-40.36).

And using a fixed effects model:

  • A  positive association between supernumerary and oral clefts (OR=4.99, 95%CI 2.58-9.64).
  • A  positive association between crown morphological abnormalities oral clefts(OR=5.69,95%CI 3.96-8.19).

The reviewers concluded:

Although general limitations in study design were observed, the evidence suggests there is a higher number of dental anomalies in the permanent dentition in individuals born with oral clefts.

Tannure PN, Oliveira CA, Maia LC, Vieira AR, Granjeiro JM, Costa MC. Prevalence of dental anomalies in non-syndromic individuals with cleft lip and palate: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Cleft Palate Craniofac J. 2011 Jul 8. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID:21740173

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Derek Richards

Derek Richards is a specialist in dental public health, Director of the Centre for Evidence-Based Dentistry and Specialist Advisor to the Scottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness Programme (SDCEP) Development Team. A former editor of the Evidence-Based Dentistry Journal and chief blogger for the Dental Elf website until December 2023. Derek has been involved with a wide range of evidence-based initiatives both nationally and internationally since 1994. Derek retired from the NHS in 2019 remaining as a part-time senior lecturer at Dundee Dental School until the end of 2023.

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