Aim: Orthodontic treatment duration is variable and associated with many factors Very few studies looks at operator changes influencing treatment duration and outcome. This study aims to evaluate the influence of operator changes on treatment time and quality.
Methodology: This is a 4-year cross-sectional retrospective study of preadjusted Edgewise two-arch appliance cases treated by single/ multiple operators and finished/debonded by the author. 60 singleoperator (Group 1) and 82 multiple-operator (Group 2) cases were selected and the Peer Assessment Rating (PAR) Index was used to measure treatment outcome.
Results: Group 1 (2.31 years, SD.86) had statistically significantly shorter treatment time than Group 2 (3.25 years, SD1.23). Mean % reduction in PAR scores was high (88.7%), although single operators (92%) showed a slightly higher (p=.04) reduction than multiple-operator cases (86.2%). Post-treatment PAR score was slightly higher in Group 2 (4.6, SD5.4) compared with Group 1 (2.6, SD2.9). There was no significant difference in post-treatment PAR scores with operator changes from within and outside the clinic although there was difference in treatment duration (p=.0001). Possible predictors of treatment duration included number of failed/changed appointments, extractions and pre-treatment PAR. Multiple linear regression model showed significant association of treatment time with failed/changed appointments (p=.0001) and number of operators (p=.0001) although this contributed to 57.5% of possible factors (r=.762) .
Conclusion: Change of operator contributes to increased treatment time by 11.3 months. Although standard of treatment was high in both groups there was slightly better outcomes in single operators. The reduction in PAR score can be predicted more accurately in single operators.