Orthodontic treatment need and demand in the Upington area of the Northern Cape Province
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When considering a person's self-esteem, behavioural patterns and personal interactions, the one feature having the most impact is their physical appearance. In an ideal world, every person should have a fair opportunity to reach their full potential in life. Orthodontics can improve a person's quality of life by creating confident smiles and a functional occlusion (Sheiham, 1993). Uncorrected malocclusions can adversely affect one's speech, general health and self-esteem. Improving the general physiological implications malocclusions has on person, may make them more employable and more successful in relationships, creating an overall happier, healthier and more successful community. The more people are offered affordable orthodontic treatment, the more acceptable orthodontic treatment may become. Thus, the perceived benefits of Orthodontic treatment in a population group are Improvement of Oral Health and enhancement of psychosocial welfare. Accurate data on the prevalence, distribution and severity of malocclusion is needed by provincial oral health management. They also need accurate data of the orthodontic treatment need of the children in that specific area. This data is vital for the effective planning of the education, training and deployment of dental workers, as well as the resources and distribution thereof in specific, designated areas (Holtshousen, 1997; So & Tang, 1993). This study's focus was to estimate the prevalence of malocclusion amongst adolescents in Upington area in the Northern Cape, and to determine the need for orthodontic treatment in the area using the Index for Orthodontic Treatment Need (IOTN).