Increased overjet has been associated with teasing, negative stereotyping, and low self-concept. Early treatment for children with Class II malocclusion is often recommended under the assumption that an improved dental appearance may benefit a child by increasing his or her social acceptance and hence self-concept. The self-concept of 208 patients, age 7 to 15 years and with increased overjet, was measured before treatment using the Piers-Harris self-concept scale; a subset of 87 of these children were measured again after 15 months of early growth modification. The mean self-concept score for these children was above the population norm, and there was no association between the child's score and the magnitude of his or her overjet or age. Although some significant associations were found between Class II malocclusion features and self-concept scores, the explained variation in self-concept scores was low (R2 from 5% to 8%). There was no change in the mean self-concept score of these children during early treatment, nor was there any association between reduction of Class II malocclusion features and improved self-concept. These findings suggest that children with Class II malocclusion do not generally present for treatment with low self-concept and, on average, self-concept does not improve during the brief period of early orthodontic treatment.
C. Dann IV is in private practice in Orlando, Florida
C. Phillips, Dept. of Orthodontics, UNC School of Dentistry, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Hillary L. Broder, New Jersey Dental School, Division of Behavioral Sciences, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Newark, New Jersey
J.F. Camilla Tulloch, Dept. of Orthodontics, UNC School of Dentistry, Chapel Hill, North Carolina