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IADR: Improving Orthodontic Retainer Compliance With Gamified Digital Rewards

Posted on June 25, 2014

Cape Town, South Africa – Today, at the 92nd General Session & Exhibition of the International Association for Dental Research (IADR), held in conjunction with the IADR Africa/Middle East Regional Meeting, S. Oberoi, University of California, San Francisco, USA, will present a study titled “Improving Orthodontic Retainer Compliance With Gamified Digital Rewards: An Acceptability Survey.” 

Retainers are commonly used in orthodontic treatment to prevent relapse. In order to achieve ideal results, patient compliance regarding retainer wear is essential. Current methods and technologies to track wear time require patients to physically visit the orthodontist’s clinic, which are commonly scheduled three to six months apart. While two commercial devices are available for tracking wear time, these technologies are costly and limited in transparency. In current development is a wireless wear time monitor and patient-facing mobile app that will motivate patients by providing digital rewards for wear time compliance, and allow patient and clinician access to quantifiable and objective wear time data daily. 

The objective of this study was to develop and administer a survey assessing acceptability of a retainer with an embedded temperature sensor and corresponding mobile app to record wear time. It was hypothesized that patients and parents would be more receptive to a retainer that incentivized its use. An acceptability survey was developed. Surveys were distributed and completed during treatment sessions at the University of California, San Francisco Orthodontic Clinic, with both patient and parent respondents chosen at random. Data was statistically analyzed using the Qualtrics Survey Tool and presented as mean values, standard deviations and ranges. Qualitative variables were indicated as absolute and relative frequencies. 

The survey found that 87% of respondents agreed that they would use such technology. Also 73% of parents and 100% of patients believed that this method of wear time tracking would encourage better adherence to the prescribed wear time. Objective wear time tracking that incorporates a mobile app and digital rewards system seems to be well-received among patients and parents, and this gamified method may be applicable to other conditions that heavily rely upon patient compliance and continuous clinician feedback. 

This research was supported by the American Association of Orthodontists Foundation, St. Louis, Missouri, USA. 

This is a summary of abstract #497, “Improving Orthodontic Retainer Compliance With Gamified Digital Rewards: An Acceptability Survey,” to be presented by S. Oberoi on Wednesday, June 25, 2014, 1:30 p.m. – 3 p.m. in Meeting Room 2.64 of the Cape Town International Convention Centre.