Dental esthetics and oral health-related quality of life in young adults

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Abstract

Introduction:

Dental esthetics affects how people are perceived by society and how they perceive themselves, and this may also affect their oral health–related quality of life (OHRQoL). The aim of this study was to compare the impacts of self-perceived and normatively assessed dental esthetics on the OHRQoL of a young adult population.

Methods:

This was a cross-sectional descriptive study involving 375 undergraduate university students, aged 18 to 30 years old. Data collection was carried out through oral examinations and self-administered questionnaires. Dental esthetics of the students was assessed using the esthetic component of the Index of Orthodontic Treatment Need. Two OHRQoL instruments were used: the shortened version of the Oral Health Impact Profile and the Psychosocial Impact of Dental Aesthetics Questionnaire.

Results:

Statistically significant relationships (P <0.05) were recorded between both self-perceived and normatively assessed dental esthetics of the students, respectively, and 3 of the 4 Psychosocial Impact of Dental Aesthetics Questionnaire subscales: dental self-confidence (Kruskall-Wallis, P = 0.000; P = 0.000), psychological impact (P = 0.003, P = 0.047), and esthetic concern (P = 0.006, P = 0.003). The only exception was the social impact subscale, in which a significant relationship was recorded only with self-perceived dental esthetics (P = 0.040). For the shortened version of the Oral Health Impact Profile scale, marked differences were also observed between the impacts recorded for both self-assessments and normative assessments, respectively, particularly for the psychological disability domain (Fisher exact test, P = 0.021, P = 0.000; P = 0.064, P = 0.096).

Conclusions:

Differences exist between the impacts of self-perceived and normatively assessed dental esthetics on the OHRQoL of young adults, particularly in the psychosocial domains. These differences should be considered in orthodontic treatment planning for young adult populations.

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