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UT Orthodontists Cross Continents to Study Facial Structure
Data are collected to compare differing facial types within the same race
Long gone are the days when the sole mission of orthodontics was to straight-en teeth. Today, orthodontists at The University of Texas Dental Branch at Houston are researching ways to ensure that the structure of the teeth supports the facial structure of patients – improving the aesthetic results.
To accomplish this, the cultural background of the patient must be understood, says Troy Gor, D.D.S., orthodontic resident at the Dental Branch.
Gor, accompanied by Chung Kau, B.D.S., Ph.D., associate professor of orthodontics, who also serves as Gor’s committee chairman, was invited to Budapest, Hungary, to participate in a collaborative study with the Hungarian Orthodontic Society on this subject.
Change Affects Treatment Goals
“The purpose of the project is to compare facial morphological differences (differences in size, shape and structure) between Caucasians from Budapest, Hungary, to those in Houston, Texas,” Gor said. “It is postulated that as society diversifies from traditional heritages, faces change. This inevitably means that clinical treatment goals, especially facial standards, need to be modified to reflect these changes.”
Kau said it is easy to recognize that patients of different racial backgrounds have facial structures that differ from each other. However, not everyone within a broad grouping of facial types has the same facial structures.
For example, Caucasians in Hungary, a population that has experienced little immigration among its people, differ in facial structure from Caucasians in an American city, such as Houston. With America being the great “melting pot,” more intermarriages have occurred.
More than 150 patient data samples were collected during a two-day conference in Hungary, to be compared with similar data collected in Houston at the 3D imaging lab in the Dental Branch.
While in Hungary, Kau presented at the conference and was made an honorary life member of the Hungarian Orthodontic Society. He is the first person from an American institution and is one of three people internationally who have received this distinction.
Kau was presented with the award by Peter Borbely, D.D.S., president of the society, who said, “We are honored to have Dr. Kau receive this prestigious award and hope that he will continue to promote Hungarian orthodontics and collaborative research opportunities with our society and institutions.”
The research project has been sponsored in part by the Texas Orthodontic Foundation and Hungarian Orthodontic Society.
By Erika Durham Hargrove, Dental Branch
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