Document Type: Original Article(s)
Assistant Professor, Department of Orthodontics, School of Dentistry, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran
Assistant Professor, Department of Dental Public Health, School of Dentistry, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran
BACKGROUND AND AIM: Estimation of need and demand for orthodontic treatment is important for both health professionals and health policymakers. Need assessment is traditionally done using experts’ opinions; however, patient-centered evaluation can provide a bigger picture of patient’s esthetic and psychological needs. The willingness to pay (WTP) technique is a potentially valid tool for assessing the patient views on their needs and for market research in healthcare. The aim of this study was to evaluate the need and demand for orthodontic treatment with a patient-centered approach using economic analysis. METHODS: A cross-sectional study was designed. Two hundred people attending Shiraz Dental School Clinic were interviewed. Their views on the importance and costs of orthodontic treatments and the maximum amount that they would pay for such treatments were obtained along with their demographic and socioeconomic factors. Their WTP was used to elicit values for orthodontic treatment using contingent valuation method (CVM) and econometric techniques. RESULTS: The response rate was 95%. Although 53.5% of respondents felt they needed orthodontic treatment, only 33.7% had expressed their need, and just 17.5% had actually gone for such treatment. The main reason for not taking the treatment was its cost (56.5%). More than 60% of respondents viewed orthodontics as only a luxury treatment and 70% considered beauty and elegant smile as the most, or one of the most, benefit(s) of orthodontic treatments. WTP results showed that orthodontic services have high demand elasticity. Assuming fixed monthly income of 8 million Rials, 61% of subjects were ready to pay 20 million Rials for a course of orthodontic treatment. CONCLUSION: The result showed that esthetics and high cost of treatment were respectively the most intriguing and the main inhibiting factors for getting orthodontic treatment. Economic evaluation showed a high elastic estimation for orthodontic treatment.