For Meghan Trainor, it’s All About That Bass… for an orthodontist, it’s all about that compliance! When orthodontic elastic compliance is less than 100%, it can become impossible to achieve the ideal treatment results that we expect. The likelihood is high that at some point during a patient’s orthodontic experience, elastics will be required to complete bite correction. Elastics move the teeth in ways that braces alone cannot accomplish. In order to fully benefit from elastic wear, they should be worn 24/7. The downfall for many patients is that the elastics are removable, therefore they get removed, and sometimes, they don’t get replaced.
In a recent article in the American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics, a study was done to review patient compliance. The authors found that:
- Compliance can have a significant impact on both the short and long term success of orthodontic treatment.
- There is a difference between actual time spent wearing elastics versus the time reported. As much as six hours difference! Patients who reported 12 hours of wear, were more likely to have gotten 6 hours. Half of what was reported!
- Patients pad their hours in an effort to please their orthodontist and avoid negative feedback.
- Patients were not influenced by the argument that if elastic wear is improved, treatment will be completed faster.
So, if compliance is what we desperately need, but patients have difficulty giving it to us, how can we help our patients give us their very best?
What I did for my practice, was create Smile-tastic!, an Orthodontic Compliance App designed specifically to help my patient’s accomplish their goals with regard to elastic compliance. Patient’s number one reason for poor elastic wear is, “I forgot.” The app sends out humorous reminders four times a day to my patient’s phones. This helps keep them from falling through the cracks and offers personalized care on a level that I cannot deliver in any other way.
Patients and parents both report that using the app greatly improves consistency in elastic wear. That’s what I call a win-win!