Orthodontic treatment and quality of life?

23 January, 2015

“Orthodontics” is derived from two Greek words; “orthos” which means straight and “odons” which refers to teeth. Specialist Orthodontic Treatment, such as that provided at Solas Orthodontics in Perth’s Western Suburbs, is specifically concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of various aspects of “malocclusions” (misaligned teeth) and their supporting structures (jaws).

A lot of patients who seek orthodontic treatment are primarily concerned with improving their appearance and social acceptance, rather than improving oral function.
These aspects of quality of life improvement are important motives for undergoing orthodontic treatment.

There have been a number of studies to highlight the many advantages of well-aligned teeth, including easier cleaning, better oral hygiene levels, clearer speech and beautiful smiles.
This is clear from the fact that initially orthodontic treatments were targeted more towards teens and pre-teens, however, now adult orthodontic patients constitute around 30% of new cases.
Whilst orthodontic treatment can be effective at any age, the ADA recommends that an orthodontic assessment should be performed at seven years old.

A colleague and friend of mine, Professor Colman McGrath at the University of Hong Kong analysed the impact of oral health on the life quality of children, and also the impact of “malocclusion” and its treatment on quality of life. This involved reviewing over 100 studies with thousands of participants to see how “malocclusion” affected their quality of life.

He concluded that there is scientific evidence to support the claim that “malocclusion”/misaligned teeth (and particularly malocclusions requiring orthodontic treatment) has an impact on children and adults physical health, psychological and social well-being.

At present, there are investigations to assess the benefits patients perceive to their quality of life after undergoing various types of orthodontic treatment. This should serve to help inform patient decision-making with regard to their treatment and the treatment options available. This should also allow specialist orthodontists maintain the highest quality of care standards for their patients.