Pain experience in adults undergoing treatment: A longitudinal evaluation.
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OBJECTIVES: To quantify the intensity and duration of pain experience in adults over the initial three visits of fixed appliance-based orthodontic treatment. A secondary objective was to assess the relationship between pain experience and analgesic use, dental irregularity, gender, and age. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A prospective longitudinal study design was adopted. Fifty-eight adults undergoing fixed appliance treatment in five orthodontic practices recorded pain experience at four time points (4 hours, 24 hours, 3 days, and 7 days) following the initial bond-up appointment (T0) and first (T1) and second (T2) routine follow-up adjustment appointments using a visual analogue scale. In addition, subjects recorded the dosage and frequency of analgesic use. RESULTS: A slightly greater proportion of women (57%) were recruited, with a mean sample age of 34.69 (SD 12.11) years. Peak pain was experienced between 24 hours and 3 days following appliance placement (T0) and subsequent adjustments (T1 and T2). The highest mean pain score arose at T0 followed by T2 and T1 adjustments, with the difference between pain levels at these appointment intervals being statistically significant ( P < .001). The use of analgesics following each appointment mirrored pain experience, with pain score, appointment, and time point all being significant predictors of analgesic consumption. The level of dental irregularity, gender, or age did not predict pain levels reported. CONCLUSIONS: Adults undergoing fixed orthodontic therapy should be advised that they are most likely to experience increased levels of pain for 1 to 3 days following placement of their appliance and subsequent adjustment visits.