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Am J Orthod Dentofacial Orthop. 2012 Jun;141(6):734-42. doi: 10.1016/j.ajodo.2011.12.026.

Impact of dentofacial deformity and motivation for treatment: a qualitative study.

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Eastman Dental Institute and Eastman Dental Hospital, University College London, 256 Gray’s Inn Rd, London, United Kingdom.



Satisfaction with the outcome of orthognathic treatment is generally high; however, an important minority remains dissatisfied with the results. The reasons for this could be inadequate patient understanding and preparation, external motivation, and unrealistic expectations. In-depth appreciation of these issues can be obtained using qualitative research methods, but there is a paucity of qualitative research in this field.


This was a cross-sectional qualitative study of orthognathic patients conducted at a teaching hospital. In-depth interviews were conducted with 18 prospective orthognathic patients. The data were managed by using the framework approach and analyzed by using the critical qualitative theory.


Two main themes were explored in the interviews: the impact of the dentofacial deformity and the motivation for treatment. Both the everyday problems of living with a dentofacial deformity and the motivation for seeking treatment could be classified either as exclusively practical (including functional and structural), exclusively psychological (including psychosocial and esthetic), or a combination. Different coping strategies were also described. The sources of motivation ranged between purely external to purely internal, with most subjects between these 2 extremes.


In this article, we present a classification of the impact of dentofacial deformity that is a refinement of the traditional one that includes esthetic, functional, and psychosocial factors. The motivating factors, together with the triggers for accessing treatment and the source of motivation, are generally linked directly or indirectly to the problem and the impact of the condition. However, in a few patients, the motivation might not relate to the impact of the problem but to a complex array of other factors such as personality, upbringing, and relationships. Therefore, clinicians should not make assumptions but explore these factors on an individual basis without preconceived ideas.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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