Dental development, including the establishment of occlusal relationships between opposing teeth, occurs as part of the progressive growth of the facial structures occurring from early childhood through the adolescent period to adulthood. During this time, there is extensive growth of the alveolar bone around the teeth, remodelling of the jaws, rotation of the face in relation to the cranial base, and migration of teeth until they come into occlusion (Brown et al., 1990).
Björk and Skieller (1972) described the characteristic patterns of facial growth and tooth eruption in Danish children. In this study, metallic implants inserted into the maxilla and mandible served as stable reference markers on which serial cephalometric roentgenograms were superimposed to trace the extent and direction of growth changes in the jaw and tooth migrations during emergence. In the Danish children, facial development was marked by a general tendency for the face to rotate forwards with age in relation to the anterior cranial base. On average, the forward rotation was greater in the mandible than the maxilla and it was strongly associated with growth at the mandibular condyle. Forward rotations of the jaws were accompanied by extensive remodelling processes that were particularly evident along the lower mandibular body, the posterior border of the ramus and the nasal floor. The paths of tooth emergence were determined by a combination of active eruption within the jaws and bodily rotation of the jaws.