There is increasing demand for clear aligner therapy (CAT) for mild to moderate malocclusion in adults. However, there is a lack of information on the motivations of adults seeking CAT, as well as their socio-demographic information and oral health status across countries. Researchers in Germany compared adult patients in Austria, Germany, Italy, Poland and Spain. They found that adult patients who are dissatisfied with their appearance and who generally have good oral health are more likely to seek CAT.

The main demographic findings were that adults seeking CAT were mostly younger than 35 and female. Patients in Italy and Germany were the youngest, the majority being in the 18- to 35-year-old age group. The highest proportion of men seeking CAT was in Italy and the lowest in Poland.

When it came to motivation, crowding was the top reason, but this was more frequent among the Spanish and Italian patients, and tooth spacing was a more common reason among the German and Austrian patients. Men more often gave spacing as their primary motive, and women more frequently indicated crowding.

The researchers noted that the patients had an overall better quality of oral health than the general population, likely because they are more concerned about their oral health as evidenced by seeking CAT. As the treatment is mostly an out-of-pocket expense, the researchers also noted that the socioeconomic status of the patients likely differs from that of the general population.

The records from CAT provider, DrSmile were compiled from over 500 associated practitioners across Europe. The resulting sample size was 15,015 patients. The study, titled ‘Who seeks clear aligner therapy? A European cross-national real-world data analysis’, was published in Life.