The Dominion Post  

Study says only half of W.Va. orthodontia patients complete treatment

Created on:   Sat, Jan 13, 2018   10:45 AM

Last modified:   Sat, Jan 13, 2018   10:45 AM

Submitted to The Dominion Post

MORGANTOWN — Orthodontic care, such as braces, bite plates and retainers, typically costs between $3,000 and $8,000. But research out of the West Virginia University School of Dentistry suggests that only half of Appalachian orthodontia patients can complete their treatment.

WVU researchers Chris Martin, professor of orthodontia, Daniel McNeil, clinical psychologist and professor of dental practice and rural health, and third-year student of dentistry, Breana Dieringer, wanted to find out why. The researchers hope that by more accurately predicting which patients may have difficulty sticking with treatment, dentists and orthodontists can intervene.

Of the 219 patients whose treatment plans and follow-ups were reviewed, just 49.8 percent completed their course of treatment. The most reliable predictor of treatment completion? Method of payment.

Nearly three-fourths of patients who paid for their orthodontia out of pocket finished their treatment, whereas only one-third of patients using private insurance, Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program completed treatment.