Perceptions of orthodontic case complexity among orthodontists, general practitioners, orthodontic residents, and dental students
Am J Orthod Dentofacial Orthop 2017;151:335-41
Our aims were to assess the perceptions of orthodontic case complexity among orthodontists, general dentists, orthodontic residents, and dental students and to compare their perceptions with the American Board of Orthodontics Discrepancy Index (DI). Methods: Orthodontists, general dentists, orthodontic residents, and dental students (n 5 343) participated in a Web-based survey. Pretreatment orthodontic records of 29 cases with varying DI scores were obtained. Respondents were asked to evaluate case complexity on a 100-point visual analog scale. Additional information was collected on participants’ orthodontic education and orthodontic treatment preferences. Pearson correlation coefficients were used to assess the relationship between the average complexity score and the DI score. Repeated measures analysis with linear mixed models was used to assess the association between the average complexity score and the DI score and whether the association between the 2 scores varied by level of difficulty or panel group. The level of significance for all analyses was set at P .05. Results: The results showed that 71.6% of general dentists provided some orthodontic services, with 21.0% providing full fixed appliances and 38.3% providing clear aligners. DI score was significantly associated with complexity perceptions (P 5 0.0168). Associations between average complexity and DI score varied significantly by provider group (P 5 0.0033), with orthodontists and residents showing the strongest associations. When the DI score was greater than 15, orthodontists and residents perceived cases as more complex than did the other provider groups. Conclusions: Orthodontists and orthodontic residents had better judgments for evaluating orthodontic case complexity. The high correlation between orthodontic professionals’ perceptions and DI scores suggested that additional orthodontic education and training have an influence on the ability to recognize case complexity.

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