Dentoalveolar and skeletal changes associated with the pendulum appliance

T J Bussick, J A McNamara
American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics 2000, 117 (3): 333-43
The purpose of the study was to examine the dentoalveolar and skeletal effects of the pendulum appliance in Class II patients at varying stages of dental development and with varying facial patterns (high, neutral, and low mandibular plane angles). Specifically, the amount and nature of the "distalization" of the maxillary first molars and the reciprocal effects on the anchoring maxillary first premolars and incisors were studied, as were skeletal changes in the sagittal and vertical dimensions of the face. Pretreatment and posttreatment cephalometric radiographs obtained from 13 practitioners were used to document the treatment of 101 patients (45 boys and 56 girls). The average maxillary first molar distalization was 5.7 mm, with a distal tipping of 10.6 degrees. The anchoring anterior teeth moved mesially, as indicated by the 1.8-mm anterior movement of the upper first premolars, with a mesial tipping of 1.5 degrees. The maxillary first molars intruded 0.7 mm, and the first premolars extruded 1.0 mm. Lower anterior facial height increased 2.2 mm; there was no significant difference in lower anterior facial height increase between patients of high, neutral, or low mandibular plane angles. In patients with erupted maxillary second molars, there was a slightly greater increase in lower anterior face height and in the mandibular plane angle and a slightly greater decrease in overbite in comparison to patients with unerupted second molars. Similar findings were observed in patients with second premolar anchorage versus those with second deciduous molar anchorage. The results of this study suggest that the pendulum appliance is effective in moving maxillary molars posteriorly during orthodontic treatment. For maximum maxillary first molar distalization with minimal increase in lower anterior facial height, this appliance is used most effectively in patients with deciduous maxillary second molars for anchorage and unerupted permanent maxillary second molars, although significant bite opening was not a concern in any patient in this study.

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