Journal Article

Patients' perceptions, treatment need, and complexity of orthodontic re-treatment

Yijin Ren, Christo Boxum and Andrew Sandham

in The European Journal of Orthodontics

Published on behalf of European Orthodontics Society

Volume 31, issue 2, pages 189-195
Published in print April 2009 | ISSN: 0141-5387
Published online December 2008 | e-ISSN: 1460-2210 | DOI:
Patients' perceptions, treatment need, and complexity of orthodontic re-treatment

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  • Restorative Dentistry and Orthodontics


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The aim of the present study was to investigate the subjective perception and objective treatment need and complexity of patients seeking orthodontic re-treatment. One hundred subjects (66 females, 34 males, age 26.7 ± 8.2 years) seeking re-treatment were asked to complete a questionnaire which was constructed based on pilot interviews with 15 patients. The questions focussed on treatment experiences, retention procedures following the first course of treatment, and expectations of and motivations for re-treatment. A visual analogue scale (VAS 0–10) was used. The ‘re-treatment’ group was matched with an untreated control group by age, gender, and the first consultation date. The study models of both groups were scored with the Index of Complexity, Outcome, and Need (ICON). Analysis of variance was used for across-time comparisons of VAS scores of patient's perception of their dental appearance, paired t-test for comparisons of the motivation VAS scores between the first treatment and re-treatment, and Mann–Whitney test for comparisons between the re-treatment and control groups.

Eighty-eight patients (26.3 ± 8.4 years) completed the questionnaire. After the initial treatment, 36 per cent of the patients did not have any retention measures. The mean VAS scores for dental aesthetics at the start and end of the initial treatment were 2.3 ± 2.1 and 6.6 ± 2.7, respectively. The scores for the present situation and expected results of re-treatment were 4.1 ± 2.7 and 8.8 ± 1, respectively. These scores differed significantly from each other. Seventy-nine pairs of models were matched for evaluation of treatment need and complexity. The mean ICON scores of the re-treatment group were significantly lower than the controls (45 ± 21 versus 57 ± 24), the aesthetic component being the main contributing factor to this difference (25 ± 16 versus 36 ± 18). Both groups showed a treatment need (ICON > 43), with the untreated controls having a relatively higher complexity. These results indicate that patients seeking re-treatment had a good perception of dental aesthetics, strong motivation, and an objective treatment need.

Journal Article.  3428 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Restorative Dentistry and Orthodontics

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