An analysis of residual orthodontic treatment need in municipal health centres

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SummaryObjective:The aim of this study was to analyse residual orthodontic treatment need in Finnish municipal health centres.Subjects and methods:A random sample of two age groups, 16- and 18-year-olds (n = 2212), from seven municipalities was invited for a clinical examination, and 1041 adolescents participated. Two calibrated orthodontists blindly examined the participants for residual treatment need, applying the Dental Health Component (DHC) and Aesthetic Component (AC) of the Index of Orthodontic Treatment Need. Self-perceived treatment need, satisfaction with occlusal function, and dental appearance were evaluated with a questionnaire. Differences between objective and self-perceived treatment need and between treated and untreated adolescents were analysed using the chi-square test.Results:A total of 18.8 per cent of all adolescents had DHC grade 4 or 5 and/or AC category 8–10, indicating a definite need for treatment. In the analysis between treated and untreated adolescents, orthodontic treatment history or gender had no statistically significant association with the objectively defined need (P > 0.05). Self-perceived treatment need was reported by 9.6 per cent of adolescents. This need was more common among treated (13.9 per cent) than untreated (4.6 per cent) adolescents (P < 0.001). Among all adolescents, satisfaction with occlusal function was high, 91.3 per cent; 78.9 per cent of adolescents were satisfied with their dental appearance. The main reasons for dissatisfaction and self-perceived need were visible contact point displacements.Conclusions:The observed proportion of residual orthodontic treatment need is in line with earlier findings. The high satisfaction with occlusal function reflects the applied selection criteria; orthodontic treatment of displacements causing only aesthetic concern is not prioritized.

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