The aim of this study is to compare cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) and bi-dimensional reconstructed lateral cephalograms (RLCs) in assessing mandibular body length and growth and to evaluate how mandibular reshaping influences the error in measuring mandibular body growth in bi-dimensional radiographs. Twenty-five patients with two CBCT scans taken at a mean distance of 2.21 ± 0.5 years were selected. The following measurements were performed: right and left mandibular body length at each point in time, mandibular growth, inter-gonial distance and mandibular symphyseal angle. From each CBCT, an RLC was obtained, and mandibular body length and growth were measured. Data analysis revealed a statistically and clinically significant difference in CBCT and RLC regarding the mandibular length of each patient at each point in time. However, mandibular growth was almost identical. A linear regression was performed to predict growth distortion between RLCs and CBCT depending on the ratio between transverse and sagittal mandibular growth. The expected maximum and minimum distortion, however, appeared not to be significant. In fact, a second linear regression model and a Bland–Altman test revealed a strong correlation between measurements of average mandibular body growth by CBCT and RLCs. As the same distortion occurs in the first and second RLCs, bi-dimensional radiographs remain the method of choice in evaluating mandibular body growth.
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