The need for treatment and satisfaction with dental appearance among young Finnish adults with and without a history of orthodontic treatment

H Kerosuo, E Kerosuo, M Niemi, H Simola
Journal of Orofacial Orthopedics 2000, 61 (5): 330-40
The aim of this investigation was to evaluate orthodontic treatment need and patient satisfaction among young adults living in a city where free-of-charge orthodontic treatment was provided. A total of 281 18- to 19-year-old subjects randomly selected from the population register of the city of Vantaa took part in the study. The drop-out rate was 30%. Treatment need was clinically assessed according to the Index of Orthodontic Treatment Need (IOTN), consisting of a Dental Health Component (DHC) and an Aesthetic Component (AC). Information on previous orthodontic treatment was based on the patient records. Satisfaction of the subjects with their dental appearance and with the orthodontic treatment received was obtained using a questionnaire. The rate of orthodontic treatment among the subjects was 46% (54% for the females and 37% for the males, p < 0.05). 4% had discontinued treatment. A definite need for treatment (DHC 4 to 5/AC 8 to 10) was assessed in 15% of the subjects, and borderline/moderate need (DHC 3/AC 5 to 7) in 36%. No difference in IOTN scores between the treated and untreated subjects was found. Females had significantly more often no treatment need (DHC 1 to 2/AC 1 to 4) compared with males (p < 0.05). The majority of subjects (89%) reported that they were very or quite satisfied with their dental appearance. The odds of being satisfied were significantly higher for the treated subjects (OR = 2.71, p < 0.05) and lower for those at the non-attractive end of the AC scale (OR = 0.14, p < 0.01). Neither gender nor DHC grade significantly affected the odds of being satisfied among the subjects. The results indicate that the majority of young adults in this study were satisfied with their dental appearance regardless of objective treatment need of various degrees. The high treatment rate in relation to unnoticed treatment need calls for reevaluation of priorities in patient selection.

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