Most orthodontists in the U.S. see patients who are interested in teeth whitening as well, but very few provide those services themselves, according to a new study in the American Journal of Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopedics (April 2013, Vol. 143:4(suppl), pp. S64-S71).
While the demand for teeth whitening has grown almost exponentially in the last 20 years, there are no published reports regarding how orthodontic practices in the U.S. utilize teeth-whitening products and services, noted the study authors, from the University of North Carolina dental school.
They used electronic and paper questionnaires to survey 3,601 members of the American Association of Orthodontists members about their current practices regarding teeth-whitening procedures.
Of the surveys, 1,222 were completed and 1,182 surveys were eligible for analysis, according to the researchers. They found that 89% of respondents had patients who requested teeth whitening, and 76% had recently recommended whitening procedures for some patients -- although typically less than 25% of their total patient population. While 33% provided whitening, 66% referred whitening procedures to other dental professionals.
"Almost all orthodontists encounter patients who request whitening procedures, and most recommend whitening procedures for a small percentage of their patients," the study authors concluded. "The proportion of orthodontists who refer such procedures to other providers is nearly double the proportion that provides them."