We would like to inform you regarding the benefits of an educational program developed and introduced by our team to orthodontic patients. We believe that, based on our results, more complex programs can be developed, leading to the establishment of good practices in the clinical work with orthodontic patients.
Inevitably, orthodontic patients react on a psychological level. The orthodontist, often preoccupied by the medical issues, tends to overlook the subjective and social aspects. In most cases, dental-maxillary anomalies generate psychological discomfort; therefore, medical (i.e., orthodontic) investigations should be complemented with psychological assessment and intervention in order to increase the patient's quality of life. Since most orthodontic patients are children and adolescents presenting dental-maxillary anomalies, meeting not only the patient's medical, but also psychological needs can prevent future emotional and adjustment problems. Child dental anxiety has been a matter of concern for years (Steen, 1891). It is believed that children can develop anxious responses to dental treatment directly (i.e., by conditioning), or through more indirect learning pathways, such as modeling and from information (Townend, Dimigen, & Fung, 2000). The doctor-patient relationship and the doctor's behavior are also known to play an important role in children's developing aversive reactions towards dental treatment (Milgrom, Vignehsa, & Weinstein, 1992; Townend et al., 2000).
In order to address some of these issues we developed and tested the effects of an educational program for orthodontic patients. Although studies investigating this topic are still scarce, there are some data indicating the potential beneficial aspects of such interventions (e.g., Hunt, Hepper, Johnston, Stevenson, & Burden, 2002; Hamdan, 2004).
Our objective was to investigate the effects of the program on treatment adherence and psychological variables such as self-esteem (physical, social and performance-related), self-related thoughts and anxiety.
Participants were 186 patients, with ages ranging between 7 and 17 years of age (m=11.83; SD = 3); 110 of the participants were female and 76, male. They were divided into three groups receiving different types and amounts of information regarding the treatment. Patients from the first group - control group - received no information about the treatment. The second group of participants received verbal information about treatment and information about similar cases with favorable outcome. Treatment information included aspects regarding the orthodontic treatment, the orthodontic appliance recommended at the beginning of the treatment, other types of appliances recommended during treatment, therapeutic alternatives, details concerning the duration and main therapy stages, benefits and risks, associated interventions (e. …