A pilot study to investigate the value of orthodontic treatment within society.

BOSF Grant 2016

Primary investigator

Dr Padhraig Fleming


Prof. Tony Ireland, Prof. Jonathan Sandy, Dr Andrea Waylen, Prof. Donald Burden, Prof. Andy Ness, Dr. Ciaran O’ Neill


Funding of orthodontic treatment (OT) accounted for 19% of the outlay on NHS dentistry in 2012. There is growing emphasis on contracting services of greatest societal value. The aims of this study are, therefore, to inform the development of a hierarchy of dental and orthodontic treatment priorities encompassing both lay and professional opinion. We will also undertake a preliminary investigation of the social value of OT and willingness to pay (WTP) for such treatment using a self-report questionnaire.

Participants and Method

In this pilot study there will be 4 focus groups, 3 patient groups and 1 professional group. Participants within the patient groups will be recruited from different age and socio-economic groups. The information obtained will inform the development of a semi-structured questionnaire to explore the importance of dental and orthodontic NHS services from both the users’ and the primary care general dental practitioner’s perspectives. Thereafter, discrete choice experiments will be used to identify factors influential in the delivery and uptake of orthodontic treatment, including objective needs, costs and impacts.

Data Collection

The focus groups and surveys will be undertaken at 3 sites in London with a target of 400 complete questionnaire responses.

  1. Patient-centred hierarchy of dental treatment priority
  2. Estimate of societal value placed on orthodontic treatment
  3. Estimate of willingness to pay for orthodontic treatments