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Orthodontic treatment does not guarantee better psychosocial functioning later in life.

By Dental Tribune International
July 03, 2019

ADELAIDE, Australia: Researchers at the University of Adelaide examined whether an orthodontic treatment has any positive impact on psychosocial outcomes later in adulthood. The study revealed that the therapy, contrary to popular belief, does not result in better psychosocial functioning later in life.

A first of its kind study in Australia and only the second to have been conducted globally studied whether fixed orthodontic treatment done earlier in life resulted in a higher amount of happiness later in life. It was a longitudinal study in which the researchers followed up a total of 448 children from Adelaide. These children were 13-year-old at the time of the launch of this study, and they had participated in an oral epidemiological study earlier between 1988 and 1989. More than a third of them had received orthodontic treatment by the time they turned 30 in 2005 -06. Those who didn’t receive braces had varying levels of malaligned teeth, just like those who had received braces, ranging from mild to very severe.

Dr Esma Doğramaci, lecturer in orthodontics at the university’s School of Dentistry and a co-author in this study said: “There was a pattern of higher psychosocial scores in people who did not have orthodontic treatment, meaning people who hadn’t had braces fitted were significantly more optimistic than the ones that did have braces.”

The researchers studied four psychosocial aspects. First, how well the participants felt they coped with newer challenges and associated setbacks. Next, they investigated how confident the participants felt about taking care of their health. Third, they assessed the amount of support the participants felt they received from their network and, lastly, the level of their optimism.

“These indicators were chosen because they are important for psychosocial functioning and are relevant to health behaviours and health outcomes, since the core research question was the impact of braces treatment on patients’ self-confidence and happiness in later life,” Dr Esma Doğramaci added.

“A lot of people are convinced that if they have braces, they will feel more positive about themselves and do well, psychosocially, in later life. This study confirmed that other factors play a role in predicting psychosocial functioning as adults—braces as a youngster was not one of them,” Doğramaci concluded.

The study, titled “The long-term influence of orthodontic treatment on adults’ psychosocial outcomes: An Australian cohort study”, was published online on 27 May 2019 in Orthodontics and Craniofacial Research, ahead of inclusion in an issue.

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