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South African Dental Journal

On-line version ISSN 0375-1562
Print version ISSN 0011-8516


RAMSON, K  and  SINGH, S. Orthodontic status and treatment need of 13 to 15 year-old children in Kwa-Zulu Natal South Africa: An epidemiology study using the Dental Aesthetic Index (DAI). S. Afr. dent. j. [online]. 2021, vol.76, n.7, pp.414-421. ISSN 0375-1562.

INTRODUCTION: The prevalence of malocclusion among school going children in KwaZulu-Natal remains poorly defined despite the known physiological and psychological impact of this dental occurrence. OBJECTIVES: The aim and objectives of this study was to determine the prevalence of malocclusion and possible treatment need in 13-15 year-old school going children in Durban, Kwa-Zulu Natal. METHODS: This was a descriptive, cross-sectional epidemiological study conducted on 270 school-going children aged 13 to 15 years, in the Umlazi and Pinetown school districts. A two-staged clustered and systematic random sampling technique was used to draw the study sample. Data was collected through an intraoral examination of occlusal status and the malocclusion and orthodontic treatment need was assessed through use of the Dental Aesthetic Index (DAI). Questionnaires were developed to collect information on the learners' health status and socio demographic profile. RESULTS: The results indicated that 144 (53.3%) of the 270 learners had DAI scores <25 (no abnormality or minor malocclusion not requiring orthodontic treatment); 26 learners (9.6%) had DAI scores of between 26-30 (definite malocclusion requiring elective orthodontic treatment); 59 learners (21.9%) had DAI scores of between 31-35 (severe malocclusion requiring orthodontic treatment); and 41 learners (15.2%) had DAI scores >36 (very severe or handicapping malocclusion requiring mandatory orthodontic treatment). There was an increase in the proportion of malocclusion in older children. The age group of 15 years old had a mean and standard deviation of 30.02+8.9 when compared to the age group 13 years old (27.76 + 12.17). The association between gender distribution and severity of malocclusion was found to be statistically significant (p=0.01). CONCLUSION: The present study primarily indicated a significant prevalence of malocclusion in the identified children. Although 53.3% of children did not require treatment, 37.1% presented with severe and handicapping malocclusion. This suggests a definite and mandatory treatment need for this group of children. The study could provide useful baseline epidemiological data that could inform oral health planning on the prevalence of malocclusion and orthodontic treatment need for 13-15 year-old school going children in the identified geographical area.

Keywords : Malocclusion; orthodontic treatment need; Dental Aesthetic Index (DAI); epidemiology; children.

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