Success of orthodontic removable appliance treatment relies on patient compliance. The aim of this quantitative and qualitative study was to explore the compliance and self-reported experience of adolescents in orthodontic treatment with headgear activator (HGA) or twin-block (TB) appliance.
The study group comprised 52 adolescents with a mean age of 12.6 (±1.3) years at the start of the treatment. The patients were treated at a free-of-charge public dental clinic. Participants were randomly allocated to two equal groups to be treated with either HGA or TB. Patient compliance was evaluated as appliance wear time and subjective experience. Appliance wear time was recorded with Theramon® microchip, and the self-reported subjective experience using a questionnaire.
In total, 30 patients completed the treatment during the follow-up period. HGA was worn on average 7 hours per day and TB 9 hours per day by those patients, who successfully completed the treatment. During a mean observation period of 13 months (range 7-23 months), the mean actual wear time was 43 per cent less than the advised 12 or 18 hours per day in the whole patient group, and 55 per cent in those patients, who completed the treatment. Compliance level was unrelated to the appliance type.
Study assessed a relatively small number of patients.
Adolescent patients wear HGA and TB less than advised. Individual variation in treatment adherence is considerable. Thereby, microelectronic wear-time documentation can be a cost-effective mean of identifying non-compliance.