Methods: An online survey was administered to NW PRECEDENT orthodontists. The survey consisted of questions to characterize the respondents and branching logic questions to gather information on their retention practices and beliefs.
Results: 51 surveys were completed (74% response rate). Most of the orthodontists (90.2%) prescribed a removable retainer for the maxillary arch. A few (9.8%) indicated using a fixed retainer in combination with a removable retainer and, none used a fixed maxillary retainer alone. Orthodontists’ preference for type of removable maxillary retainer was equally distributed between various designs of Hawley (41.2%) and clear thermoplastic (41.2%) types. In contrast, few orthodontists (23.5%) relied solely on a removable retainer to maintain correction in the mandibular arch. The majority prescribed a fixed mandibular retainer, most commonly alone (47.1%) or combined with a removable (29.4%), recommending that the fixed retainer be maintained indefinitely. For removable retainers, orthodontists recommended the same regimen for both arches with initial full-time wear. Most (88.2%) predicted patients to be more compliant with part-time wear and likewise, most (76.5%) indicated that they would consider enrolling patients in a study that randomized patients to a retention regimen that differed from what they currently used. Orthodontists were less amenable to randomization by retainer type (58.8%). Orthodontists estimated compliance rates of 75.5% for removable retainer wear 6 months post-treatment with a decline to 52.6% at one year or more.
Conclusions: Maxillary removable and mandibular fixed retainers are most commonly used. NW PRECEDENT orthodontists are fairly representative to the retention practices used in the United States. Support by NIDCR grant DE016752-04
Keywords: Orthodontics, Providers and Retention
See more of: Behavioral, Epidemiologic, and Health Services Research