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Objective: This study aimed to assess self-perceived aesthetics and orthodontic need, information-seeking behaviours and knowledge on orthodontic treatment among young adults in Malaysia.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among 933 polytechnic students in Malaysia using a selfadministered questionnaire. The Aesthetic Component (AC) of the Index of Orthodontic Treatment Need (IOTN) was used to assess self-perceived orthodontic need. Respondents were also asked about their intention to seek orthodontic treatment. Those showing intention were further asked about their reason(s) for seeking treatment, their information-seeking behaviours, and knowledge on orthodontic treatment. Data was analysed using SPSS.
Results: The overall response rate was 93.2% with the mean age of 20.43 (SD±1.07). Although most of the respondents rated themselves under the no treatment need category of the AC-IOTN scale, 61.9% reported intention to seek orthodontic treatment. The main reason for seeking treatment was to improve dental function (45.3%) and aesthetics (40.1%). Most claimed to look for information prior to orthodontic treatment, either using online or offline platforms. Many relied on friends (83.3%) as a source of information and more than half used online sources including social media and websites. A minority demonstrated lack of knowledge in terms of appropriate places to receive treatment (2.2%) and qualification of orthodontic practitioners (37.7%).
Conclusions: The majority of young Malaysian adults have high intention to seek orthodontic treatment regardless of their perceived need. A minority had lack of knowledge about qualified orthodontic providers and places to receive treatment. Majority reported positive attitudes towards information-seeking behaviour prior to seeking orthodontic treatment.
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