Socio-demographics of Adult Orthodontic Visits in the United States
Format of Original
American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics
Introduction: Population-based studies in orthodontics have focused on differences between normative and perceived needs. However, information from national data on the prevalence of orthodontic visits and their associated factors in adults in the United States is scarce. We examined the demographic profile of likely adult users of orthodontic services and whether there is racial and ethnic disparity in orthodontic visits. Methods: We analyzed data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, 2000-2004. Results: Overall, about 1% of the population reported an orthodontic visit. Subjects who made a general dental visit during the current year were significantly more likely to also have an orthodontic visit. Single adults, women, people between 18 and 30 years of age, and those from high-income families were more likely to report an orthodontic visit. There were no indications of racial and ethnic disparity for either black or Hispanic adults compared with white adults after adjusting for other covariates. Conclusions: Substantial racial and ethnic disparity in adult orthodontic usage was not identified. Adults (ages 18-30 years), women, those with higher incomes, and single adults had significantly higher odds of reporting an orthodontic visit. However, additional studies specifically evaluating the association of treatment need among low-income families are required to evaluate whether these adults face significant barriers in accessing orthodontic care.