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Appropriateness of orthodontic referrals: self-perceived and normative treatment needs of patients referred for orthodontic consultation

Lookup NU author(s): Andrew Aw


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Objectives: The aims of this prospective study were to evaluate the self-perceived and normative orthodontic treatment needs of children referred for orthodontic consultation and to determine the proportion of children who were inappropriately referred. Methods: The sample consisted of 257 children with a mean age of 12.0 years (SD = 2.4). An orthodontist assessed the children's normative treatment need using the dental health component (DHC) of the index of orthodontic treatment need (IOTN), and for patients in the mixed dentition the need for interceptive treatment was assessed. Questionnaires were answered by both the child and the parent to assess satisfaction with dental appearance and desire for treatment. Results: The distribution of the IOTN grades showed that 73% of the children had definite need while 27% had borderline/no need for orthodontic treatment. Twenty-six per cent of children and 17% of parents did not express orthodontic concern, even though more than half of these children were in definite need of treatment as assessed by IOTN. The children's orthodontic concern was significantly related to the DHC scores. Out of the 103 children who were in the mixed dentition, only about 16% required interceptive treatment. Conclusions: The results indicated that a significant number of children were inappropriately referred for orthodontic treatment. Referring dentists need to assess the normative treatment needs of the children as well as the children's and parents' commitment and desire for orthodontic treatment before deciding on the need for referral.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Chew MT, Aw AKL

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology

Year: 2002

Volume: 30

Issue: 6

Pages: 449-454

ISSN (print): 0301-5661

ISSN (electronic): 1600-0528

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.


DOI: 10.1034/j.1600-0528.2002.00017.x


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