A new study published by the International and American Associations for Dental Research has found that families of orofacial clefting are not at higher risk for dental anomalies. Their research was published in The Journal of Dental Research.
Children with oral clefts show a wide range of dental anomalies, adding complexity to understanding the phenotypic spectrum of orofacial clefting. The evidence to date, however, has remained mixed on whether the prevalence of dental anomalies is elevated in unaffected relatives, as well as being mostly based on small samples.
Using the largest international cohort of children, to date, a total of 3,811 children were included in the study. 660 had clefts, 1,922 were unaffected relatives and 1,229 acted as controls. The team characterised the spectrum of cleft-related dental anomalies and evaluated whether families with clefting have a significantly higher risk for such anomalies compared with the general population.
Identifying dental anomalies using in-person dental exams, intraoral photos, Chi Square statistics, researchers found that dental anomalies are mostly seen on the same side as the cleft. Failure of tooth formation and tooth displacements were the most common dental anomalies found in cases. Compared to controls, unaffected sibling and parents showed a trend for increased anomalies of the maxillary permanent dentition.
These differences, however, were non-significant after multiple-testing correction, suggesting generic heterogeneity in some families carrying susceptibility to both overt clefts and dental anomalies.
Collectively, the findings suggest that most affected families do not have higher genetic risk for dental anomalies than the general population and that the higher prevalence of anomalies in cases is primarily a physical consequence of the cleft and surgical interventions.