Orthodontic screening and treatment timing in preschoolers

Clin Exp Dent Res. 2019 Feb 10;5(1):59-66. doi: 10.1002/cre2.161. eCollection 2019 Feb.


Dental and stomatologic problems in childhood need to be diagnosed and managed with multidisciplinary protocols focusing around the children an appropriate prevention, diagnosis, and care program. Therefore, it is paramount to avail of screening tools that provide an indication of in-depth multidisciplinary diagnostic flow. The aim of this study is to detect and evaluate malocclusion problems and predisposing factors in an Italian preschooler population. Design-calibrated operators detected data through examination of 1,405 children (706 males and 699 females) aged between 2 and 7 years, in one hospital in Rome and in kindergartens of several Italian cities. Data were collected following Risk of Malocclusion Assessment index criteria. Pearson's chi-square test (with continuity correction) and Fisher's exact test were the statistical tests conducted (P < 0.05). Grade 2 (49.6%) and 4 (21.7%), followed by grade 1 (17.1%), grade 3 (9.3%), and finally grade 5 (2.3%) are the most represented degrees. 53.6% of the cases have a high risk, whereas 32.2% has a low risk and 14.9% has a moderate risk. The risk-degree correlation is statistically significant (P < 0.005). Flawed habits and oral breathing are present in more than a quarter of children. Findings of the study highlighted that early multidisciplinary approach, as well as orthodontic visits and screening in childhood, is necessary to promote normal growth and development of the face and the elimination of potential interferences that may harm these processes.

Keywords: malocclusion; orthodontic screening; prevention of malocclusion; treatment timing.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Habits
  • Humans
  • Index of Orthodontic Treatment Need
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Malocclusion / diagnosis
  • Malocclusion / epidemiology*
  • Malocclusion / prevention & control
  • Mass Screening*
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors