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Aust Orthod J. 1999 Nov;15(5):289-301.

The community and orthodontic care. Part II: Community-perceived importance of correcting various dentofacial anomalies. Part III: Community perception of the importance of orthodontic treatment.

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  • 1University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Abstract

Part II. A professionally-managed telephone survey was undertaken to assess the community-perceived importance of correcting various dentofacial anomalies. The sample included 505 respondents, aged eighteen and over, from metropolitan and non-metropolitan households across the state of Victoria. The sample distribution had a 95 per cent confidence limit with a 5 per cent margin of error and closely matched the known population distributions for age, sex and geographical location. This article forms part two of a series. It was found that the correction of functional problems such as "difficulty chewing or speaking" was considered to be very important, regardless of age, sex or geographical area. The correction of other factors such as "top teeth which stick out in front", "bottom teeth which stick out in front" or "crooked or crowded front teeth" was also considered to be important. "Spaced front teeth" was the factor considered least important for correction within all groups. It is interesting to note that, for all factors, correction seemed to be considered more important by females and non-metropolitan respondents than by males and metropolitan respondents, In contrast to previous studies in which it has been suggested that patients seek treatment mainly for reasons of aesthetics, the results of this study have shown a definite community recognition of the importance of functional problems as well. Part III. A professionally-managed telephone survey was undertaken to assess the community's perceptions of the importance of having "straight teeth and a nice smile", to assess if a Medicare (the Australian government health benefit scheme) rebate should be provided for orthodontic treatment and to assess whether respondents had any private health insurance that would help cover the cost of orthodontic treatment. The sample included 505 respondents, aged eighteen and over,, from metropolitan and non-metropolitan households across the state of Victoria. The sample distribution had a 95 per cent confidence limit with a 5 per cent margin of error and closely matched the known population distributions for age, sex and geographical location. It was found that a very large percentage of respondents considered the need for "straight teeth and a nice smile" to be very important. This finding is supported by the many studies showing the importance of facial attractiveness to the lives of all people, young and old. Only a small percentage of respondents indicated that they had any private dental health insurance that would help cover the cost of orthodontic treatment. Efforts should be made to inform those responsible for the planning of orthodontic services in both the public and private sectors of the importance of the community's perceptions of aesthetics, and the large amount of published work that reinforces the impact of facial attractiveness on people's lives.

PMID:
10806936
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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