Dental Tribune International

Saudi study: Patients willing to pay more for faster orthodontic treatment

By Dental Tribune International
December 13, 2019

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia: A cross-sectional survey conducted by researchers from King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah has found that the majority of orthodontic patients think that orthodontic treatment takes too long. The majority of respondents to the survey said that they were willing and able to pay for additional procedures, such as customised wires and tooth vibrators, to shorten the duration of treatment.

The demand for orthodontic treatment is increasing, and yet the duration and cost of treatment remain causes of concern for patients. The survey sought to evaluate patients’ perceptions of the duration and cost of their orthodontic treatment in Saudi Arabia and their willingness to accept different techniques and procedures to accelerate tooth movement. According to the authors—the lead of whom was Dr Amal Ibrahim Linjawi, assistant professor at the university’s dentistry faculty—the study was the first to examine these specific perceptions among Saudi orthodontic patients.

The vast majority (83% of the respondents) said that the duration of orthodontic treatment was too long and more than half of the respondents (55.5%) said they wished the treatment could take less than six months. The preference for additional procedures to reduce treatment duration were ranked as follows: customised wires (52.5%), tooth vibrators approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) (40.5%), FDA-approved drug injections (33.5%), piezocision (32.5%) and corticotomies (46%). The authors stated that there were no significant differences according to age, gender or income of the respondents in the ranking of these additional treatments.

Just under half of the respondents (47.5%) said they were able to pay for additional procedures, 17% said they were very able, and 30% said they were somewhat able.

Participants were asked how much they were willing to pay as a percentage increase of treatment fees for a reduction in treatment duration. The majority of the respondents (83.5%) said that they were willing to pay a 10%–20% increase in fees for a 10% reduction in treatment time, and 80% said that they were willing to pay the same increase in fees for a 20% reduction in treatment time.

“The results showed that customised wires followed by FDA-approved teeth vibrators and FDA-approved drug injections were the most preferred procedures to undergo among different procedures and techniques. In contrast, participants were mostly unwilling to undergo corticotomies and piezocisions,” the authors wrote.

“The current findings indicated that participants were willing to pay an increase of only up to 10–20% in the treatment fees, despite the reduction in treatment time, except if there was 50% reduction in treatment time, where 52.5% of the participants were willing to pay 10–20% increase in treatment fees and 29% were willing to pay even up to 50% increase in treatment fees.”

The survey was conducted between January and March this year and consisted of a multiple-choice questionnaire that was sent to 400 patients undergoing orthodontic treatment within the municipality of Jeddah. The response rate was 50%.

The study, titled “Patients’ perceptions to reduced orthodontic treatment time in Saudi Arabia”, was published online on 19 November 2019 in Patient Preference and Adherence.

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