Monday, June 25, 2012

Why do patients seek orthodontic treatment?

It has long been believed that orthodontic treatment facilitates proper oral hygiene which reduces the incidence of periodontal disease and dental cavities. In addition, a better bite can help prevent temporomandibular joint disorders. However, it seems that the main reason to have orthodontic treatment is to improve one's esthetics. A person's smile has been identified as the second most observed facial characteristic when it comes to evaluating someone's physical attractiveness. Psychosocial research has shown that a bad bite has a negative impact on one's self-satisfaction with their appearance. This in turn tends to impair social functioning.

A recent study from Brazil looked at the oral health related quality of life of young adults who had completed orthodontic treatment compared with untreated adults. The authors found that untreated individuals had 5X higher oral health impact profile scores when compared to treated individuals. The most frequent impact was "been self-conscious". It was concluded that young adults who receive orthodontic treatment had significant better oral health-related quality of life scores than did the non-treated group of young adults.

Another Brazilian study assessed the changes in esthetic self-perception of adolescents after orthodontic treatment. The authors found that orthodontic treatment improved individual's self-perception compared to those that never received treatment. Individuals who did not receive treatment had significantly worse self-ratings.

We recognize that many people seek and undergo orthodontic treatment to improve esthetics and not necessarily address dental problems that may lead to physiological dysfunction or destruction of tissues in the oral cavity. Whatever the reason, at RiteBite Orthodontics we will provide you with both a beautiful and healthy smile!

Feu et al., Influence of orthodontic treatment on adolescents' self-perceptions of esthetics. Am J Orthod Dentofacial Orthop 2012;141:743-50.

Palomares et al., How does orthodontic treatment affect young adults' oral health-realted quality of life? Am J Orthod Dentofacial Orthop 2012;141:751-8.

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