Patients and parents perceptions of orthodontic treatment in private versus teaching settings
Molon, Jeremy J.
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Success in orthodontic practice can be contributed to multiple factors. These factors include the creation of beautiful smiles and perfectly aligned teeth. Constructive communication between orthodontist and his or her patients is an essential part of running a successful practice. Studies have been done in the past regarding individual practices or groups of practices but the comparison of teaching to private orthodontic settings hasn’t been done to date. The focus of this study was to have a better understanding of patient’s and parent’s expectations, prior to and degree of satisfaction following orthodontic treatment in private, as well as in a teaching clinical setting. The information gathered as part of this study could be used to further quality assurance in clinical settings. This information may provide private practioners a new vision of the different referral patterns that exist in private and institutional clinical settings. It is anticipated that residents who work in an educational facility use this study as a basis on how to model their future practices. The study will provide residents with a better understanding of the needs of their patients. The study uses a questionnaire derived from an earlier study by Sayer (2005) and Uslu (2007). The present study was carried out at the University at Buffalo orthodontic clinic (teaching group) and at two private practices. The orthodontic practices of Dr.LittleJohn (Waterloo N.Y.) and Dr.Anderson (Dansville N.Y.). The results indicate private practice settings have well established relationships with referring dentists which, plays an important role in establishing their referral base. The results indicate teaching facilities depend on the family and friends of their existing patients for referrals. First visits to private practices should instill confidence and generate a more significant experience with the doctor allowing case exceptance by patient and parent more often. Concerns of private practice patients on average is significantly higher in regards to, orthodontics improving chewing function, speech quality, straightening of teeth and smile esthetics. Patients and parents identified longer treatment times, difficulties reaching someone in clinic and longer times spent waiting for their doctors on the day of their appointment as difficulties of treatment in teaching settings. End of treatment satisfaction questions showed general satisfaction of the samples but parents of patients in private practice significantly had higher satisfaction with final arrangement of teeth, facial appearence, smile and chewing function.