Maxillary arch dimensions in the first 6 months of life and their relationship with pacifier use
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Purpose: This study evaluated the maxillary arch dimensions at birth and 6 months of life, and to verify the influence of pacifier use on palatal development. Methods: Maxillary arch impressions were taken from 80 full-term newborns, appropriate for gestational age, from 24 to 72 h of life, and repeated after 6 months. Anatomical references were mapped on dental casts and measurements were taken. Parents were questioned about feeding practices and sucking habits. Data were analysed by Kruskal–Wallis test and hierarchical mixed regression model (p < 0.05). Results: Anterior maxillary segment (median [interquartile range]) presented an increase in transverse (Δ% = 81.90 [74.40–89.70]) and in length (Δ% = 76.20 [49.10–102.70]) relative growth. No differences were detected in palatine depth from birth (11.00 mm [10.30–11.70]) to 6 months (12.60 mm [12.0–13.90]). Conclusions: Pacifier use was positively related to the increase in anterior segment length. In the first 6 months of life, the greatest relative growth of the maxillary arch occurs in the anterior region, showing this growth does not occur homogeneously. The use of pacifiers came to influence this process, even before the eruption of the upper incisors.