Title: Epidemiology and aetiology of malocclusion among Syrian paediatric patients
Abstract: Aim The knowledge of the distribution and causes of malocclusion in early childhood can prevent such malocclusions and their consequences and possibly to reduce complex orthodontic treatment. Methods All children (n = 234; 116 male, 118 female, age 2-16) who presented with occlusal or functional problems at the Department of Paediatric Dentistry at Damascus University (1995-1999) were classified according to the type and causes of malocclusion and the subsequent orthodontic treatment. Results 57.3% of the malocclusions affected the anterior-posterior plane, 12.4% the vertical, and 35.9% the transverse. Most of the malocclusions had causes which could be modified by preventive or interceptive efforts: thumb sucking (5.12%), infantile swallowing (3.84%), mouth breathing (0.85%), tongue thrusting (1.7%), delayed exfoliation of a primary tooth (3.41%), premature loss of a primary tooth (9.82%), delayed eruption of a permanent tooth (2.13%), or an impacted tooth (6.41%). The subsequent early orthodontic treatment consisted of space maintainers (26%), removable (40.9%), functional (11.9%), or fixed appliances (21.2%). Conclusion These data stress the importance of early orthodontic diagnosis in paediatric practice. Malocclusion in this Syrian sample could be treated to a great extent with preventive or interceptive orthodontics, which required only simple appliances and techniques.