Lionel Cedric FONKWEN (
Orthodontics, University of Yaoundé I
July, 2015


In 1978 the Alma Ata conference on public health strongly reaffirms that health, which is a state of complete physical, mental, and social wellbeing, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity is a fundamental human right and that the attainment of the highest possible level of health is the most important world-wide social goal. Malocclusion define by the World Health Organisation (WHO), as an anomaly which causes disfiguring or impedes functional occlusion and require treatment if the disfiguring or function defects was an obstacle to patients physical or emotional well being. It was introduced under the heading of handicapping dento-facial anomaly by the WHO and requires survey each 5 to 10 years. In Cameroon none of such survey has yet being carried out. Apart of it aesthetics impairment, malocclusion is highly associated with periodontal problems that may lead to early tooth lost and also causes temporo-mandibular joint (TMJ) Disorder. For its effective treatment a database on malocclusion and orthodontic treatment needs are required, reasons which motivated use to carry out this study.


The aim of the study was to assess the prevalence of malocclusion and orthodontic treatment needs in 12 years old schoolchildren in Yaoundé.


From November 2014 to May 2015, we carried out a cross-sectional descriptive study, during which a random selection of 337 twelve years schoolchildren in three public secondary schools were examined in their classrooms by trained examiners using the ICON index in Yaoundé. These children had never undergone orthodontic treatment before and where all Cameroonians. Yaoundé is the capital of Cameroon and is found in the Mfoundi division; which is divided in to Yaoundé I to VII. Yaoundé is located on 3° 52’ North 11° 31’ east. Despite the urban nature of the town, the vast majority of the inhabitants are of the middle and low income groups. Data was recorded on data entry forms and computerised in Microsoft Excel 2007 computer software. The data was exported to the Statistical Package for Social Sciences software, SPSS (Version 17.0) for further analysis. Categorical variables were compared using Pearson’s chi-square tests as appropriate. A ρ-value of less than 0.05 was considered statistically significant.


Overall, 20.5% of the schoolchildren needed orthodontic treatment (ICON > 43), there were more females than males. The overall Mean ICON score was 31.97±17.16 SD. The grades of complexity of the population were 50.1% for easy, 38.3% mild, 7.1% moderate, 2.1% had difficult and 2.4% very difficult. Prevalence of malocclusion traits were 21.7% Crossbite, 17.8% Anterior Open bite, 27.3% Upper Crowding, 38.3% Upper Spacing, 50.2 deepbite 2% and more than 80% of the sample did not have an idea occlusal fit in the Buccal segment when view in antero-posterior sense.


The prevalence of orthodontic treatment needs using the ICON is lower compared to other African countries. There was a statistical significant relationship between crossbite and female sex . Although only one fifth of the population need treatment (20.5%), 56.5% were in moderate to very difficult grades indicating specialist care.

The Ministry of Higher Education should pay attention in the training of orthodontist and also increase the number dental surgeons.