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Implementing post-orthodontic compliance among adolescents wearing removable retainers through Whatsapp: a pilot study

Authors Zotti F, Zotti R, Albanese M, Nocini PF, Paganelli C

Received 9 February 2019

Accepted for publication 12 March 2019

Published 23 April 2019 Volume 2019:13 Pages 609—615


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Johnny Chen

Francesca Zotti,1 Rinaldo Zotti,2 Massimo Albanese,1 Pier Francesco Nocini,1 Corrado Paganelli2

1Department of Surgery, Dentistry, Paediatric and Gynecology, University of Verona, 37134 Verona, Italy; 2Department of Orthodontics, School of Dentistry, University of Brescia, 25100 Brescia, Italy

Purpose: To determine whether the use of social media is useful in improving compliance and follow-up attendance among patients wearing retainers after orthodontic treatment.
Patients and methods: Sixty post-orthodontic patients (aged 16–19 years), randomized in two groups: follow-up supported by participation in WhatsApp chat group (SG), and Control Group (CG). All patients were scheduled for quarterly check-ups for monitoring of orthodontic stability by measurement of intercanine width at the beginning of the study (t0) and every 4 months t1, t2, t3) for 1 year of observation. Patients in the SG additionally participated in a WhatsApp chat group, where they would send, on a weekly basis, snapshots showing his/her occlusion. Every month, the orthodontist acting as the moderator awarded the best five snapshots by publishing a ranking in the chat.
Results: Participants in the SG featured smaller changes from the intercanine widths at baseline (at debonding) compared to the CG patients at all times during 1 year of follow-up. Follow-up attendance was regular in both groups in the first 8 months of follow-up. After that, patient compliance decreased in the CG, with eight patients missing check-up appointments.
Conclusion: Engaging adolescent patients directly through WhatsApp activity seems to increase regularity in wearing removable retainers, attendance to follow-up schedule, and yield better long-term outcome in terms of orthodontic stability and compliance.

Keywords: apps, technologies, orthodontics relapse, orthodontic compliance, patient compliance, young patients

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