A national online survey of 500 mothers with children who wear braces reports that despite the availability of less invasive orthodontic treatment options, many kids undergo significant discomfort and painful tooth extractions.

The survey, conducted by Bluesuitmom.com on behalf of Ormco Corp, found that 43.3% of the mothers surveyed said their children had permanent teeth pulled to alleviate crowding as part of their orthodontic treatment. The report states that 42.9% of children who wear braces had two teeth removed and 37.3% had four or more tooth extractions.

“The survey shows that many moms think painful treatment and tooth extractions are somehow a given with orthodontic treatment, but that couldn’t be further from the truth,” said Thomas Pitts, DDS. “The removal of healthy teeth should only be the last resort for patients, especially since it is my experience that tooth extractions may cause unwanted changes to the face and smile. Plus, there are more advanced braces available today that are far more comfortable for patients and make most tooth extractions unnecessary. There is no doubt in my mind that parents would seek out the orthodontist who has the technology to minimize extractions if they were aware that such technology existed.”

Another online survey conducted this summer by Bluesuitmom.com polled 500 mothers on their attitudes about braces and treatment experiences of their children, including criteria used to select an orthodontist.

According to the survey, in selecting an orthodontist, most mothers were influenced by the doctor’s expertise (34.1%), cost (22.4%), another mother’s recommendation (17.7%) or a family member’s recommendation (14.5%). Only 5.5% of mother cited the ability to treat without extractions as most important in their decision.

[digital50.com, August 21, 2007]