Objective: To assess the normative need, knowledge of, and demand for orthodontic treatment in Senegalese schoolchildren aged 12-13 years.
Materials and methods: The sample consisted of 665 Senegalese schoolchildren randomly selected from different ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. The normative orthodontic treatment need was assessed using the Dental Health Component (DHC) and the Aesthetic Component (AC) of the Index of Orthodontic Treatment Need (IOTN) and the Index of Complexity, Outcome, and Need (ICON). Knowledge of and demand for orthodontic treatment were assessed with a questionnaire.
Results: The DHC and the AC of the IOTN and the ICON classified respectively 42.6%, 8.7%, and 44.1% of the children as having a definite need for orthodontic treatment. There were no ethnic or gender differences with respect to normative orthodontic treatment need. The mean ICON score ranged from 42.31 to 44.46 according to the ethnic group. Only 10% of the children had some knowledge of orthodontics. However, between 17% and 30% of the children clearly expressed a need for orthodontic treatment, and the distribution between ethnic groups was significant. In contrast, there were no significant gender differences concerning this demand for treatment.
Conclusions: The present study shows that the need for orthodontic treatment far exceeds the actual available supply.