Knowledge and Awareness of Medical Students on Orthodontics: A Cross Sectional Study
Healthcare providers are the primary caregivers for a variety of health-related complaints. If they are
unaware of the relationship between the malocclusion and orthodontics on general well-being of the patient,
they may not educate, motivate and refer patients for orthodontic care. Considering that the present-day
medical students are the future healthcare providers; we have assessed their level of orthodontic awareness.
This cross sectional survey was conducted in Sree Balaji Medical College & Hospital, Bharath Institute
of Higher Education & Research. The total sample size includes 375 male and female medical students
selected by simple random sampling technique. A pre-piloted validated self-administered questionnaire was
used and the collected data was subjected to statistical analysis using SPSS software version 24.0. Response
rate was 70.4% (n=264) of which 49.2% were males (n=130) and the rest others were females. Half of
the respondents (50.1%, (n=131) know the term ‘orthodontics’. 31.4% (n=81) knew that orthodontics is
related to correcting malocclusion. 40.1% (n=106) had received orthodontic treatment. Around half of the
respondents (54.5%, (n=144) have relatives who are undergoing orthodontic treatment during the study
period and 47.4% (n=125) felt aesthetics is the most important criteria affected by malocclusion. Similarly,
56% (n=148) would make referrals and 38.6% (n=102) cited duration of treatment as a discouraging factor.
The medical students surveyed had only less awareness of orthodontics as a separate speciality. The female
students showed a higher level of awareness towards oral health, aesthetics and orthodontics as compared to
the male students. So a basic introduction to the dental sub-specialties, especially orthodontics would enable
them to identify and educate on malocclusions and make informed referrals appropriately.