Demineralization Preventive Practices among Nigerian Orthodontists– An Evidence‑based Approach?
Background: The prevalence of white spot lesions/tooth demineralization during orthodontic fixed appliance therapy ranges widely from 2 to 96% of patients. The purpose of this study was to evaluate measures used by orthodontists practicing in Nigeria to manage demineralization during and after fixed orthodontic treatment and how it compares with the available evidence‑based information.
Method: Study group comprised of 60 practitioners (21 orthodontists and 39 orthodontic residents) in Nigeria. Self‑administered questionnaires were used to obtain information on the measures they use to prevent the occurrence of demineralization at the onset and during orthodontic treatment, as well as the management of its occurrence at treatment completion. Data were analyzed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) software, version 17.0. Descriptive statistics were used. Level of significance was set at P < 0.05.
Results: Responses obtained showed that 96.7% of orthodontic practitioners routinely advised their patients on tooth cleaning methods; the use of manual orthodontic toothbrush (78.3%) and dental floss (51.7%) being popularly recommended methods. However, 51.7% used a specific demineralization preventive protocol at the start of treatment. Oral hygiene instruction was observed to be the most commonly adopted protocol (51.7%), followed by fluoride rinses (41.7%) (considered relatively ineffective). Extraoral hygiene instruction was the most common treatment protocol used when tooth demineralization occurred during and after treatment (56.7% and 73.3% respectively). Approximately 92% of the orthodontists agreed on the need for the development of a basic protocol to prevent demineralization.
Conclusion: The demineralization preventive measures used by Nigerian orthodontists and orthodontic residents are inconsistent and not based on evidence‑based information. The development of standardized demineralization prevention protocol was therefore recommended.
Keywords: Demineralization, oral hygiene, white spot lesions