Dental Tribune International

Saudi youth prefer clear aligners

By Jeremy Booth, DTI
July 02, 2020

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia: Clear aligners are the most attractive and acceptable orthodontic appliance—this was the main finding of a study of youth perception of orthodontic appliances conducted by a researcher from the Faculty of Dentistry at King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah. The results of the study, the first of its kind in the kingdom, were a first step towards understanding the consumer behaviour of Saudi youth in the orthodontic clinic, according to the author.

In the survey, which was undertaken at shopping malls and dental clinics in Jeddah, Saudi youths were asked to evaluate images of a model’s mouth fitted with a variety of orthodontic appliances. The participants were asked to rate the appliances on attractiveness, acceptability of having them placed on themselves, and preferability of them over the other appliances. The appliances pictured were metal brackets with either transparent or coloured O-ties, self-ligating metal brackets, hybrid metal and ceramic brackets, ceramic brackets with transparent O-ties, self-ligating ceramic brackets, shaped brackets, lingual brackets and clear aligner trays.

The majority (54.1%) of the 194 study participants were female, and 35.5% of the participants were of primary school level (aged 9–11), 32.5% were of middle school level (aged 12–14) and 32% were of high school level (aged 15–17).

Clear aligners were rated as having the highest median attractiveness, followed by lingual and standard ceramic brackets. Hybrid brackets received the lowest rating for median attractiveness. Clear aligners also had the highest level of acceptability among the participants (80%), and hybrid brackets scored the lowest in acceptability (42%).

Across all of the age groups, clear aligners were the most frequently ranked (34%) as the most preferred appliance, and both male and female participants (30% and 37%, respectively) frequently ranked clear aligners as their most preferred appliance.

Clear aligners were found to be the most preferred appliance in the primary (42%) and high school (37%) age groups. In the middle school age group, the highest ranking was given to clear aligners, in addition to lingual and standard metal brackets. According to the study, the preference for standard metal brackets (30%) in the middle school age group was driven by male participants in the age group, and for lingual brackets (29%) by female participants.

Author Dr Reem A. Alansari, an assistant professor in the Faculty of Dentistry, wrote that the findings differed from prior studies conducted on Brazilian and American youth: “Among participants in these two samples only the older youth from the American sample found clear aligners to be the most attractive and rather preferred lingual brackets, metal brackets, and coloured elastomerics. These appliances were generally acceptable in our sample but less so than clear aligners. Lingual brackets were both only found to be attractive and acceptable by the oldest subset of our sample (high school students). Primary school students found these brackets to be both unattractive and unacceptable. Middle school students found them attractive but thought they were not acceptable, raising the possibility that they were dismayed by the discomfort these brackets may cause.”

The study, titled “Youth perception of different orthodontic appliances”, was published online on 18 June 2020 in Patient Preference and Adherence.

Editorial note: A similar study was conducted on adult Saudis last year by researchers at King Abdulaziz University. Participants in that study were additionally asked to rate the appliances on their cost value and on the acceptability of having them placed in their children. The majority of the respondents reported that clear aligners were the most attractive and most acceptable option for their own and their children’s orthodontic care. When it came to cost, however, the majority of participants indicated that they were willing to pay more for their own orthodontic treatment using the aesthetically preferred clear aligners, but that they were not willing to pay more to have these appliances placed in their children.

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