Objective: The establishment and maintenance of normal occlusion constitutes one of the important objectives of pediatric dentistry. There are very few studies assessing the occlusal characteristics of primary dentition in the preschool children. The objective of this study was to assess the occlusal characteristics of primary dentition and difference in various parameters, in children between 3 and 5 years of age.
Materials and methods: Eight hundred and eight healthy children, of age group between 3 and 5 years, and having full set of deciduous dentition, were selected by random sampling. Examination and recording of occlusal characteristics were done by single examiner.
Results: Flush terminal molar relationship was seen in 67.9% of children. Statistically significant (χ2 = 47.835, p = 0.001) increase in mesial step molar relationship was seen with age. The class I canine relationship was the most prevalent canine relation, however the agewise changes of canine relation were not statistically significant. Anterior open bite was observed in 0.2% of children, which was less than the prevalence reported earlier in literature. 91.2% of children had overjet of 1 to 2 mm. The incidence of anterior and posterior crossbite was 0.4%. No cases of infraocclusion and scissors bite were observed.
Conclusion: There is change in deciduous molar relationship as age increases. There is a significant increase in mesial step molar relation in 5 years age group compared to 3 years. The low prevalence of posterior crossbite and anterior open bite is suggestive of lower prevalence of sucking habits in children. Larger sample size may be required to assess the prevalence of infraocclusion and scissors bite.
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