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This article explores the impact of malocclusion, orthodontic appliances and orthodontic treatment on oral health-related quality of life. Additionally, it highlights some of the challenges associated with conducting and interpreting research in this field.
CPD/Clinical Relevance: It is important for clinicians to appreciate the impact that orthodontic appliances may have on the oral health-related quality of life of patients, as well as the potential benefits that completion of treatment may provide.
For several years there has been a significant interest in establishing the health benefits of orthodontic treatment.1 While these were traditionally explored using clinician-based outcome measures, in recent years, we have witnessed a paradigm shift with stakeholders agreeing that potential benefits should also be explored from the perspective of patients themselves. As such, within the orthodontic literature, we have seen an exponential increase in the use of patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) and, in particular, ‘oral health-related quality of life’ (OHRQoL).
OHRQoL aims to provide a subjective evaluation of an individual's oral status, with a particular emphasis on the impact of oral conditions or treatments, on social and emotional wellbeing, oral symptoms and functional limitations.2 This is demonstrated accurately by what is now considered a universally accepted definition of OHRQoL:3
‘The impact of oral diseases and disorders on everyday life that a patient or person values, that are of sufficient magnitude, in terms of frequency, severity or duration to affect their experience and perceptions of their life overall.’
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