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Patients understanding of terminology commonly used during combined orthodontic-orthognathic treatment

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Amanveer Benning, Matin Ali Madadian, Jadbinder Seehra, Kathleen Fan

Original languageEnglish
Accepted/In press2021

King's Authors


Background: Communication between patients and clinicians plays an important role in improving quality of healthcare and clinical outcomes and ensuring that patients understand medical terminology used by their physicians is a core aspect of this. The aim of this study is to evaluate the degree of patient understanding with respect to commonly used terms in a joint orthodontic-maxillofacial clinic in the context of preparing for combined orthodontic/orthognathic treatment. Methods: Patients were recruited to partake in a short two-part questionnaire. Demographic data collected included participants’ age, sex, level of education, fluency of English and whether English was their first language. In the second part of the questionnaire, participants were asked to identify the correct definition of 11 commonly used terms from a series of multiple-choice answers. Results: 51 patients participated in this study ranging between ages 15 to 52. 86% of patients selected English as their first language and 37% reported having a university education. The overall mean score for the questionnaire was 44%, with the best understood term being ‘retainers’ at 80% correct and ‘decalcification’ the worst understood at 14% correct. An association between level of education and understanding of specific terms was detected. Conclusion: This study highlights the overall sub-optimal patient understanding of medical terminology used by clinicians on a joint orthodontic-maxillofacial orthognathic clinic. The authors of this study recommend further consideration to the terminology currently used as well as adapting the mode and frequency of information delivery, serving to improve patients’ understanding and retention of medical conversations.

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