Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Dental Science (MDS)



Research Advisor

Edward F. Harris, Ph.D.


Jere L. Yates, D.D.S., M.D.S. Richard A. Williams, D.D.S., M.D.S.




While there are a few national surveys on malocclusion in the U.S., few reports characterize actual orthodontic patients and their treatments. The purpose of this study was to describe the patients and their treatment at a university based orthodontic department, namely the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis. The goals of this study are: (1) to research patient demographics, dental and skeletal relationships and treatment variables; (2) to test for temporal trends in these patients and their treatment across a 26 year interval from 1980 to 2005; and (3) to assess the correlations among patient demographics, dental and skeletal relationships, and treatment variables. Data were collected from 1,500 patient records chosen at random from all cases. Girls represent 60% of the overall sample, a percentage that did not change over time. This preponderance of females is driven by greater perception of need, not more prevalent or more severe malocclusions. Non-White races have increased in the patient population, suggesting slow improvement of their chronic under-representation. Patients treated with orthognathic surgery account for 2% of overall cases, but this percentage decreased over the time interval. The mean starting age of child and adolescent patients was 13.4 years. Over time, the average patient age increased, reflecting more adult patients. Extraction cases of all types decreased over time from above 70% down to below 50% of cases. Over this same time, treatment duration has decreased, and more Angle Class I patients are being treated compared to Class II cases. Causes are multifactorial, but people with simpler malocclusions seeking treatment seem to be one factor. Non-extraction treatment was only found to be of shorter duration when compared to extraction of (4-4/4-4), (4-4/5-5), and (4-4/0-0); no other extraction pattern involving premolars was found to be of longer duration than non-extraction, and treatment duration difference between all extraction patterns were not significant. This survey provides a unique insight into the patient population and treatment and how these have changed over time and not only adds to the orthodontic literature, but serves a useful "audit" of treatment at The University of Tennessee Graduate Orthodontic Clinic.