Journal Article

Malocclusions in children at 3 and 7 years of age: a longitudinal study

Lillemor Dimberg, Bertil Lennartsson, Björn Söderfeldt and Lars Bondemark

in The European Journal of Orthodontics

Published on behalf of European Orthodontics Society

Volume 35, issue 1, pages 131-137
Published in print February 2013 | ISSN: 0141-5387
Published online October 2011 | e-ISSN: 1460-2210 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ejo/cjr110
Malocclusions in children at 3 and 7 years of age: a longitudinal study

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The aim of this longitudinal study was to compare the prevalence of malocclusion at ages 3 and 7 years in a sample of children, exploring the hypothesis that prevalence of malocclusion is higher at 3 than at 7 years of age and may be influenced by sucking habits. The study sample comprised 386 children (199 girls and 187 boys), aged 3 years at study start, sourced from three Public Dental Service clinics in Sweden. Malocclusion was diagnosed by clinical examination, using a specific protocol. Data on allergy, traumatic injuries, sucking habits, and breathing pattern including nocturnal breathing disturbances were obtained by means of a questionnaire answered by child and parent in conjunction with the initial and final clinical examination. The overall prevalence of malocclusion decreased significantly, from 70 to 58% (P < 0.0001): predominantly anterior open bite, excessive overjet, and Class III malocclusion. Although high rates of spontaneous correction were also noted for deep bite, Class II malocclusion and posterior and anterior crossbites, new cases developed at almost the same rate; thus, the prevalence was unchanged at the end of the observation period. Anterior open bite and posterior crossbite were the only conditions showing significant associations with sucking habits. The results confirm the hypothesis of higher prevalence of malocclusion at 3 years of age and clearly support the strategy of deferring orthodontic correction of malocclusion until the mixed dentition stage.

Journal Article.  3816 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Restorative Dentistry and Orthodontics

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