The normative orthodontic treatment need, established by dental professionals during the dental appointment, becomes ineffective when it does not evaluate all the factors that influence the decision-making process, including individuals' perception and satisfaction with their dental appearance. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate the perception of children and their mothers as regards orthodontic treatment need and satisfaction with dental aesthetics and test if these variables are associated with the objective orthodontic treatment needs, assessed by the Dental Aesthetic Index (DAI).
A cross-sectional study was conducted on 308 children aged 12 years, and their mothers were randomly selected by cluster sampling (primary schools). The variables "orthodontic treatment need," "satisfaction with chewing," and "dental appearance" were assessed by means of a questionnaire. The questions were answered individually at school or home, in cases of children or mothers, respectively. DAI was assessed to make an objective clinical assessment. The variables were dichotomized and statistically analyzed by the chi-square and Fisher's exact tests, contingency coefficient C, and logistic regression.
The results of the clinical evaluation (DAI) were statistically associated with the perception of orthodontic treatment need and satisfaction with dental appearance in children (p ≤ 0.01). However, no association was observed with regard to satisfaction with chewing and DAI (p = 0.10). The children's perception of orthodontic treatment need and satisfaction with the appearance of their teeth was statistically associated (p ≤ 0.01) with their mothers' perception. Maxillary overjet, maxillary and mandibular misalignment, and dental crowding were associated with the orthodontic treatment need by children and their mothers, with p value -0.05 and 5 % level of significance. Maxillary overjet was a significant predictor for the perception of orthodontic treatment need in children (OR 1.86, 95 % CI 0.98-3.55) and mothers (OR 3.02, 95 % CI 1.54-5.92).
Children and parents realize the need for orthodontic treatment according to the different types of malocclusion, as noted in the association between orthodontic treatment need and dental appearance perceived by children and their mothers, which was also observed-with low correlation-with regard to DAI.