It behoves an orthodontist to regard patients seeking treatment for malocclusion as valued customers who should remain satisfied clients. However, without patient cooperation, few medical or dental therapies, including orthodontics, will achieve optimum results.
It has been shown that a desire for orthodontic treatment, together with a sound understanding by the patient of the nature of the malocclusion, auger well for future compliance. Hence, compliance does not remain the sole responsibility of the patient. Rather, orthodontists need to inform and instruct their patients to such a level as to ensure their full commitment. It is of concern that patients show a very low recall rate with regard to any risks associated with orthodontic treatment. Lack of communication between the orthodontist and the patient and insufficient information about orthodontics can lead to premature termination of the treatment. Orthodontists should therefore look at the way they educate patients, ensuring that full comprehension has been achieved. Measuring treatment satisfaction is a complex task. Patient satisfaction is higher when visible treatment outcome goals are met and when their expectancy with regard to psychosocial benefits is lower.
The key to success is to discover the actions that will produce the most positive response from the patient. Orthodontists should strive to achieve the correct bite and an excellent smile, but they have not been truly successful if their patients have not also benefitted psychosocially. Orthodontists should recognise and respond to these needs, for as caring professionals they may be the patient's only source of positive reinforcement.
Verwey, Hanneke; Carstens, Pieter Albert, 1960-(Pretoria University Law Press (PULP), 2013)
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