SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Keywords:

  • 3D cephalometry;
  • cone-beam computed tomography;
  • cranial base;
  • craniofacial morphology;
  • lateral basicranium;
  • temporal bone

Abstract

The hypothesis that the temporal bones are at the center of the dynamics of the craniofacial complex, directly influencing facial morphology, has been put forward long ago. This study examines the role of the spatial positioning of temporal bones (frontal and sagittal inclination) in terms of influencing overall facial morphology. Several 3D linear, angular and orthogonal measurements obtained through computerized analysis of virtual models of 163 modern human skulls reconstructed from cone-beam computed tomography images were analyzed and correlated. Additionally, the sample was divided into two subgroups based on the median value of temporal bone sagittal inclination [anterior rotation group (= 82); posterior rotation group (= 81)], and differences between groups evaluated. Correlation coefficients showed that sagittal inclination of the temporal bone was significantly (< 0.01) related to midline flexion, transversal width and anterior–posterior length of the basicranium, to the anterior–posterior positioning of the mandible and maxilla, and posterior midfacial height. Frontal inclination of the temporal bone was significantly related (P < 0.01) to basicranium anterior–posterior and transversal dimensions, and to posterior midfacial height. In comparison with the posterior rotation group, the anterior rotation group presented a less flexed and anterior–posteriorly longer cranial base, a narrower skull, porion and the articular eminence located more superiorly and posteriorly, a shorter posterior midfacial height, the palatal plane rotated clockwise, a more retrognathic maxilla and mandible, and the upper posterior occlusal plane more inclined and posteriorly located. The results suggest that differences in craniofacial morphology are highly integrated with differences in the positional relationship of the temporal bones. The sagittal inclination of the temporal bone seems to have a greater impact on the 3D morphology of the craniofacial complex than frontal inclination.