Orthodontic Treatment Leads to Improvement in Quality of Life

October 9th, 2012

This article provides a valid research basis for concluding that orthodontic treatment does lead to an improvement in quality of life.

How Does Orthodontic Treatment Affect Young Adults' Oral Health-Related Quality of Life?

Palomares NB, Celeste RK, et al: Am J Orthod Dentofacial Orthop; 2012;141 (June): 751-758

Background: When patients ask you what the benefits of orthodontic treatment are, what do you tell them? Would you have a valid basis for telling them that it leads to an improvement in quality of life?

Objective: To assess the oral health-related quality of life of patients who completed orthodontic treatment compared with subjects awaiting orthodontic treatment.

Participants: The sample for this study consisted of 2 groups of patients. The treatment group consisted of 100 consecutive patients who concluded orthodontic treatment at least 6 months before the study and the second group was a control group of 100 patients with similar orthodontic problems who were awaiting the initiation of orthodontic treatment.

Methods: Data were collected through face-to-face interviews, self-completed questionnaires, and oral examinations by a trained orthodontist. The oral health-related quality of life assessment (a validated assessment form) was administered to each subject and the scores were statistically evaluated.

Results: Statistical analysis revealed that the non-treated young adults had mean oral health impact profile scores over 5 times greater than the treated group, indicating that the untreated group had a significantly poorer oral health-related quality of life than did the patients who received orthodontic treatment.

Conclusions: Patients who complete orthodontic treatment have a higher oral health-related quality of life than patients who do not receive orthodontic treatment.

Reviewer's Comments: I thought this was an excellent study. From just seeing the changes in patients that they have treated, I believe most orthodontists would feel comfortable saying that orthodontic treatment usually results in an improved quality of life. It is helpful, however, to be able to refer to a valid research study that reaches the same conclusion when talking to patients.(Reviewer–John S. Casko, DDS, MS, PhD).