The availability of information on the individual perception of own's dental appearance and desire to uptake orthodontic treatment is of importance in the planning of orthodontic care within a population.
The subjective assessment of personal dental appearance and desire for orthodontic treatment was appraised among Nigerian children.
The study was conducted among 91 school children (33 boys, 58 girls) aged 12 years old in Benin City, south-southern region of Nigeria. The satisfaction of the subjects with the arrangement of their anterior teeth and desire to straighten their teeth was determined using a questionnaire. The subjects were further asked to rank their dental attractiveness in relation to the photographs in the Aesthetic component (AC) of the Index of Orthodontic Treatment Need (IOTN). The need for orthodontic treatment among the subjects was also assessed by the examiner with the Aesthetic component of IOTN. Chi-square tests were used for data analysis.
The result revealed that more than three-quarters (76.9%) of the subjects were satisfied with their dental aesthetics while 23.1% desired to have orthodontic treatment. The boys expressed significantly higher level of dissatisfaction with their dental aesthetics and a greater desire to have orthodontic treatment (P < 0.05). Most subjects (92.3%) rated their dental attractiveness in the "little to no need" orthodontic treatment grade on the AC scale. The normative borderline treatment need was higher than subjective borderline need but there was consistency in distribution of 4.4% in definite need treatment grade by the subjects and examiner.
The majority of the children rated their teeth as aesthetically satisfactory but there were gender differences in perception of dental aesthetics and desire for orthodontic treatment among this sample of Nigerian children.