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Orthodontic evolution: an update for the general dental practitioner. Part 2: psychosocial aspects of orthodontic treatment, stability of treatment, and the TMJ-orthodontic relationship

, : Orthodontic evolution: an update for the general dental practitioner. Part 2: psychosocial aspects of orthodontic treatment, stability of treatment, and the TMJ-orthodontic relationship. Journal of the Irish Dental Association 54(3): 128-131

As a result of recent innovations and improvements, orthodontic treatment has become easier and more efficient to carry out, allowing greater numbers of patients to receive treatment. The main result of orthodontic treatment is improved dental alignment and aesthetics. Treatment has no effect on caries or periodontal disease, and the dental health gain is modest, apart from a very small percentage of destructive malocclusions. Psychological improvements using different psychological parameters show differing results and it is not clear that any psychological gains are long lasting. Social gain (greater willingness to smile, feeling good about oneself, satisfaction with dental appearance, etc.), and reported improved quality of life (QoL measures), are now becoming more important as consumer-related outcomes and may, ultimately, contribute to psychosocial and psychological status. Stability of orthodontic treatment results cannot be guaranteed and all patients need to be informed of this, and of the need for long-term retention. Malocclusion has little or no relationship to temporo-mandibular joint dysfunction and orthodontic treatment neither causes nor cures such problems. Extractions as part of orthodontic treatment do not cause TMD, nor do they cause collapse of the vertical dimension. The major improvements in dental health in the last 40 years have been accompanied by a great increase in demand for treatment. In any public health service that is free at the point of use, demand for treatment invariably exceeds the ability of resources to supply this. Indices of treatment need are widely used to determine treatment need and eligibility for treatment in public health systems. Demand for orthodontic treatment among adolescents can be as high as 60% in the general population, while the professionally-assessed need for treatment is approximately half this figure. Age, sex, socio-economic status, perceived unattractiveness of dental appearance, and availability of orthodontic services all influence receipt of treatment.


PMID: 18649729

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