Research conducted at Malmö University’s Dental Faculty has proved that children born before the 33rd week of pregnancy will grow permanent teeth that are up to 10% smaller in size compared with other children. The research was conducted by orthodontist Liselotte Paulsson-Björnsson, who examined the permanent front teeth and 1st molars in 80 children aged 8 to 10 years. All children had been born prematurely and their teeth were generally smaller and had larger spaces between them. Although this does not affect the function of the teeth it might cause problems cosmetically, thus creating a greater need for orthodontic treatment in this group of children.
Liselotte Paulsson-Björnsson points out that due to the great progress in the care of prematurely born babies within the last 15 years, the results of her research might not apply to babies born prematurely today. She also needs to examine whether it is only the front teeth and 1st molars that are affected or whether teeth developed after birth will also be smaller.