A review of malocclusion among individuals with mental and physical disabilities

Katherine Winter, Lorena Baccaglini, Scott Tomar

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Oral health disparities between individuals with disabilities and the general population are widely reported in the literature, and malocclusion is no exception. As the number of people living with disabilities grows, so does the need to explore their oral health status. This review examines the reported prevalence of malocclusion in individuals with Down syndrome (DS), cerebral palsy (CP), cleft disorders, mental disabilities, and physical disabilities from 1976 to 2004. Malocclusion was assessed according to Angle's classifications, the Dental Aesthetic Index (DAI), and selected occlusion characteristics. The prevalence of malocclusion was higher in individuals with disabilities than in controls without disabilities. Malocclusion was more frequent when the handicap was mental rather than physical in origin. Class II and Class III malocclusions were common in individuals with CP and DS, respectively. Crowding, anterior diastema, and >1/2 cusp antero-posterior molar relations were frequent among people with disabilities. Findings varied according to disability, but were attributed to musculoskeletal abnormalities, altered cranial-base relationships, premature tooth eruption, corrective surgery, and lip incompetence. Only a deep bite was more frequent in controls compared to the individuals with disabilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-26
Number of pages8
JournalSpecial Care in Dentistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Disability
  • Handicap
  • Malocclusion
  • Oral health
  • Prevalence
  • Special needs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Dentistry


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