Malocclusion is an alteration of the normal relationships between skeletal, muscle and dental structures that can lead to impaired functionality as well as aesthetic alteration of the stomatognathic system. Functional alteration can affect various aspects, ranging from chewing ability to respiratory disorders. Paediatricians and dentists are called to prevent and diagnose these conditions as early as possible in order to preserve the patient’s health. The purpose of this research is to study the incidence of malocclusion and its relationship with Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome (OSAS) in a young population. Also, the role of paediatricians and dentists in prevention and early diagnosis of this condition was evaluated
An anonymous survey was given through Google form to 300 Italian children (139 males and 161 females) from different private dental practices in Italy. No personal information that identifies the individuals was collected, and the data was analysed in aggregate form only. All data was collected and statistically analysed.
Three hundred Italian subjects (139 male and 161 female) were surveyed; 82% of them lived in Central Italy. The average age of the patients is about 10 years old, with the youngest patient being 1 year old and the oldest one 19 years old. Most of the participants had their first dental visit before they turned 6 years old, meaning that in the majority of cases, the subjects underwent a dental visit for a check-up. In 13.4% of cases the reason for the visit was malocclusion. Furthermore, the presence of malocclusion was found in 40.4% of subjects. Most patients are treated by private clinicians, in particular 53.4% by general dentists and 33.9% by orthodontists. Almost no one in the survey has difficulty in chewing food. The majority of subjects do not have trouble breathing either. Only 9 people suffer from sleep apnoea; 81.1% do not snore; and 36,7% move a lot while sleeping. The majority do not wake up during sleep, and learning problems are not common. Enuresis was reported in 3.7% of the sample. The majority of the sample do not sleep with their mouth open (71.5%). Out of the whole sample, 40.9% reported an improvement of sleeping or learning problems after orthodontic therapy. Half of the sample states that breathing has improved with orthodontics. 61.3% of the sample believes that their paediatrician give the correct importance to dental health.
The data highlight the patients’ good attitude towards dental check-ups, which help to intercept malocclusions. Unlike the past, the knowledge of the importance of oral health and dental occlusion is high among young patients, parents and paediatricians. This study underlines the role of paediatricians as key players in the prevention of dental health problems.
Vol.23 – n.3/2022
Harvard: S. Saccomanno, S. Saran, M. De Luca, P. Fioretti, G. Gallusi (2022) "Prevention of malocclusion and the importance of early diagnosis in the Italian young population", European Journal of Paediatric Dentistry, 23(3), pp178-182. doi: 10.23804/ejpd.2022.23.03.02
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