This study investigated the effect of unilateral occlusal elevation in the molar region on facial and mandibular development in growing rats.

Materials and Methods:

Thirty 5-week-old male Wistar rats were randomly allocated to three groups (n = 10). The control group was allowed to develop naturally until 9 weeks of age. A device fitted on the caused unilateral occlusal elevation at 5 weeks in the removal group. The device was removed at 7 weeks and the rats were observed until 9 weeks. In the continuation group, the same device fitted on the left-side molars caused unilateral occlusal elevation continuously for 9 weeks. All groups underwent craniofacial scanning with three-dimensional micro-computed tomography at 5, 7, and 9 weeks.


In the removal and continuation groups, the mandible was displaced to the unelevated side. At 7 weeks, both these groups showed greater skeletal growth and molar extrusion on the elevated side, with significant differences between the elevated and unelevated sides. At 9 weeks, there were significant differences in both skeletal and alveolar growth between these groups; the asymmetry ameliorated in the removal group.


We evaluated three-dimensional morphometry by fitting a device to rat molars for a short observation period; thus, future studies are warranted to acquire data following long-term observation.


Unilateral occlusal elevation during the growth period suppressed molar eruption and extrusion on the elevated and unelevated sides, respectively. The height of the mandibular ramus increased on the elevated side, resulting in asymmetric growth.

Keywords: X-Ray microtomography, Molar, Malocclusion, Facial asymmetry, Orthopedics, Orthodontics, Growth.
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