Adult orthodontic retreatment: A survey of patient profiles and original treatment failings

Luke Chow, Mithran S. Goonewardene, Richard Cook, Martin J. Firth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: A growing number of adult patients are seeking orthodontic treatment. This research aimed to analyze the particulars of patients seeking retreatment and identify the causes of their original treatment failure. Methods: An online questionnaire survey of adults seeking first-time orthodontic treatment (control) and retreatment (study) was conducted. Index of complexity, outcome, and need (ICON) scores were determined. Appraisal of treatment records was carried out to identify the causes of original treatment failure. Results: No significant differences were found between retreatment adult patients and first-timers regarding reasons for seeking orthodontic treatment, malocclusion type, self-perception of malocclusion, level of self-motivation, willingness for surgery, expectations of treatment improvement and duration. The predominant reason for seeking treatment in both groups was for aesthetic concerns. Retreatment patients presented with lower ICON scores (39.4; standard error, 0.26) than the first-time patients (54.3; standard error, 0.23), P ≤0.001. The predominant reasons for original treatment failings were poor treatment, maturational changes, inadequate retention, shortcomings in diagnosis and treatment planning, and unfavorable growth. Other causes were related to transverse deficiency, secondary malocclusion (after periodontal breakdown), poor retention compliance, and temporomandibular joint degeneration. Conclusions: Adult orthodontic retreatment and first-time seekers' profiles are remarkably similar. Aesthetic concerns were the leading reasons patients sought treatment. ICON was not a useful proxy of patient profiles. Poor treatment was the chief reason for the failure of the original treatment. In terms of clinical significance, clinicians should be mindful of the patient profiles of retreatment seekers and vigilant about the possible causes of failings of orthodontic treatment to avoid suboptimal outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)371-382
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics
Issue number3
Early online date21 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2020


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