Striving for Perfection: How Stable Is Orthodontic Treatment When Excellent Outcomes Are Achieved? A 9-Year Post-Treatment Retrospective Study


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(1) Aims: The main objective of this retrospective study was to assess the long-term stability of difficult orthodontic treatments treated to an excellent result and to correlate stability to possible prognostic factors. Secondary objectives were to observe the changes in retention protocol over time and to assess Oral Health-related Quality of Life (OHRQoL) after a long-term post-treatment follow-up. (2) Methods: Cases presented for final examination by orthodontic postgraduate students were retrospectively screened for eligibility. Eligible patients were recalled for a post-treatment recall appointment (T2), consisting of a clinical examination and intraoral scan, and were asked to complete the Oral Health Impact Profile-14 (OHIP-14-DK). Gender, age at treatment commencement (T0), treatment modality and duration, and retention protocol were extracted from the records. At T2, the duration of the retention period was recorded, and retainers in place were clinically compared to the original retention protocol. The following variables were assessed on the sets of models at T0, T1 (end of treatment), and T2: arch length and width, overjet and overbite, Dental Aesthetic Index (DAI), Peer Assessment Rating score (PAR), and Little's Irregularity Index (LII). Multiple regression models were conducted. (3) Results: Eighty-five subjects attended T2. The mean post-treatment follow-up was 9.4 years +/- 2.4. In the upper arch, at T1, 74 patients had a combination of fixed and removable retainers, while at T2, 55 had a fixed retainer only. In the lower arch, at T1, 67 patients had a fixed retainer only, with this number increasing to 76 at T2. From T0 to T1, the PAR score improved by 96.1%, with the improvement remaining at 77.5% at T2. The stability of lower inter-canine and upper inter-premolar widths was significantly correlated with the extent of changes during treatment. The presence of a lower fixed retainer at T2 and a low LII at T1 were prognostic factors for stability. The mean weighted total OHIP-14 score at T2 was very low (1.6 +/- 2.4 points). (4) Conclusions: In a sample with an initial high-severity malocclusion and treated to an excellent outcome, long-term stability was very good. Good stability can be retained when a lower fixed retainer is present at T2 and when a low LII is achieved at T1.
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Key words
orthodontic retainers,orthodontics,Little's irregularity index,PAR index
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