Evaluation of treatment risks and the quality of information contained within the websites of specialist orthodontists


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Australasian Orthodontic Journal

Australian Society of Orthodontists

Subject: Dentistry, Orthodontics & Medicine


ISSN: 2207-7472
eISSN: 2207-7480





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VOLUME 35 , ISSUE 2 (November 2019) > List of articles

Evaluation of treatment risks and the quality of information contained within the websites of specialist orthodontists

Maurice J. Meade * / Craig W. Dreyer

Citation Information : Australasian Orthodontic Journal. Volume 35, Issue 2, Pages 143-151, DOI: https://doi.org/10.21307/aoj-2020-043

License : (CC BY 4.0)

Published Online: 20-July-2021



Objective: To evaluate the treatment risks and the quality of information contained within the websites of specialist orthodontists in Australia.

Methods: The term ‘specialist orthodontic practice’ was entered into three internet search engines. Websites satisfying inclusion and exclusion criteria were evaluated for orthodontic treatment risk information against nine common treatment risks. For website reliability and quality, the DISCERN instrument was used along with the HON (health on the net) seal certification; and for readability, the Flesch Reading Ease (FRE) Test was applied.

Results: Of the 105 websites that met the inclusion and exclusion criteria, 4.8% reported all nine risks. No risks were reported by 17.1%. Relapse (64.8%) was the most common risk recorded on websites, followed by ‘pain/discomfort’ (63.8%). Root resorption was reported by 5.7%. The requirement for life-long retention was indicated by 22.9% of the websites and 57.1% gave advice on sports mouthguard wear. The proposed benefits of orthodontic treatment were outlined by 85.7%. The mean (standard deviation [SD]) overall DISCERN score was 43.78 (SD 6.49; range 17–59). No website displayed the HON Seal certification. The mean FRE Score was 51.71 (SD 10.19; range 30.1–74.7).

Conclusions: Information regarding orthodontic treatment risks contained within specialist orthodontic practice websites appears deficient. Websites were of variable reliability, quality and readability. Further development of specialist orthodontists’ websites is required to ensure the delivery of accessible, reliable and understandable evidence-based information to patients.

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