Researchers at Seton Hill University Center for Orthodontics found that a text message sent from an orthodontic office following initial appliance placement resulted in a lower level of patient’s self-reported pain. Additionally, the researchers found that patient anxiety is at its peak the day following the initial appointment and decreases from that point forward.

For the study, 39 orthodontic patients were randomly assigned to one of two groups and matched for age, gender, and bracket type—self-ligating versus conventional. The subjects completed baseline questionnaires to ascertain their levels of pain and anxiety before initiating orthodontic treatment. Following the initial appointment, subjects completed the pain questionnaire and anxiety inventory at the same time daily for 1 week. One group received a structured text message showing concern and reassurance, while the second group served as a control and received no postprocedural communication.

The researchers found that there was a statistically significant difference in pain in relation to time between the text message group and the control group. Mean pain intensity increased and self-reported discomfort was longer in the control group. Anxiety was determined to be at its peak the day following initial orthodontic appliance placement and gradually tapered off from that time point. No intergroup difference was noted when analyzing anxiety.

The study appears in the July issue of The Angle Orthodontist.