Trends in skeletal maturation patterns in a Western Cape sample
Skeletal age assessment is not only an important aspect in orthodontic treatment planning, but is also widely used in forensic medicine and physi cal anthropology. Vari aus studi es have shown that chronological age may be at variance with an individual's biologic age. Current research would seem to indicate that the hand-wrist radiograph provides the most accurate method of assessing skeletal age for diagnostic purposes. In recent years the number of patients presenting with malocclusions of a skeletal nature at the University of the Western Cape has increased si gnifi cantly. If it i s accepted that treatment of jaw discrepancies associated with malocclusion is dependent on a large component of dentofacial orthopedics, then by implication it is necessary that a substanti al amount of faci al growth remai ns. The need has therefore arisen for the establishment of skeletal maturation trends in the Western Cape. Skeletal maturity was assessed from hand-wrist radiographs in a sample of 318 Western Cape chi 1dren aged 6 to 16 years for both sexes, utilising the bone specific Tanner-Whitehouse TW-2 scoring system. Data obtai ned from the present study showed a marked di fference in skel etal maturati on trends between femal es of the Western Cape to that of the British norm, while the males showed less divergence. Further, these findings show that in both sexes the epiphyseal bones matured in advance of the TW-standard. Carpal maturation, however, was delayed in the male when compared to the British standard, while that of the female conformed to that of the British standard.