Questionnaire to measure patients' expectations of orthodontic treatment in the University at Buffalo orthodontic clinic
Gleason, James F.
MetadataShow full item record
Frequently, parents bring their children into an orthodontist's office, and after letting the doctor examine the child, ask the inevitable question: "Does my child need braces?" With as much expertise as orthodontists put into their work, even the most meticulous among them will agree that there is no such thing as a life threatening malocclusion. In short, no one has ever died from not having braces. It follows then, that the answer to the parents' inevitable question should mostly be that treatment is desirable, but perhaps not essential. Of course, what is really meant by the above question is "Does my child need braces in order to have straighter teeth?" In most cases then, the answer would be yes. The prevalence of orthodontic treatment in the United States has risen to the extent that it has almost become an adolescent rite of passage to receive said treatment. The desire to have straight teeth sends millions of teenagers and adults alike to orthodontic offices each year. Orthodontists however, are educated in many more aspects of craniofacial health than just the alignment of teeth. Orthodontists are taught to evaluate the dento-alveolar complex in all three dimensions (transverse, antero-posterior, and vertical), the skeletal morphology through cephalometric radiographs, the periodontal status of patients, and elements of facial harmony before they make their diagnoses and develop their treatment plans. Therein lies the potential for conflict. Orthodontists must be able to distinguish what can be done, as well as what should be done to correct a malocclusion, without sacrificing the patients' desires and expectations of the treatment outcomes. Our study was performed to evaluate the expectations of patients coming to the University at Buffalo orthodontic clinic for treatment. The results demonstrated that incoming patients have high expectations regarding the outcomes of treatment, and are realistic as to duration of treatment as well as the frequency of visits. Patients reported that they expected increased esthetics from orthodontic treatment, as well as an improvement in function. They also believed that their treatment would be received positively by their peers, and that they expected an increase in self-confidence as a result of orthodontic treatment.