Protocols of Orthodontic Prevention

by Grippaudo Cristina and Pelliccia Ambra

The frequency of orthodontic problems is very high. Recent epidemiological research confirms that in Italy 75.8% of children aged 8 to 13 show signs of malocclusion, already present in 50% of children aged 5-6. The study of risk factors has shown a direct correlation with the signs of malocclusion. This has led to the construction and validation of indices suitable for assessing the severity of malocclusion during the developmental age, in deciduous (Baby R.O.M.A. index) and mixed (R.O.M.A. index) dentition. These indices take into account not only the clinical sign of malocclusion, but also the possible risk factors that can cause it to worsen. Intercepting and preventing the aggravation of malocclusion not only constitutes an advantage for the health of the young patient, but corresponds to less demanding treatments with lower costs. On this basis, the dental hygienist can be trained in the use of these indices and play a role in the prevention of malocclusion and its aggravation. The first measures to be taken are all the actions necessary to counteract the risk factors, while orthodontic therapy will be implemented only in cases where the patient benefits from an early intervention. The prevention of malocclusion in the dental office is implemented through the instructions and monitoring of the patient's hygiene, food and behavioral habits. In order to be able to implement an effective prevention plan, the dental hygienist who takes care of the young patient's family can be the reference figure, able to communicate information effectively and follow up with periodic visits to patients. In addition, the hygienist can have a sentinel role in intercepting problems that must be treated early by the orthodontist, or recommend visits to the dentist or other specialists.

Learning Objectives

After this lecture, you will be able to learn what are the risk factors for the development of malocclusions
After this lecture, you will be able to know the indices of the need for orthodontic treatment in developmental age
After this lecture, you will be able to know a proposal for guidelines for orthodontic prevention