Objective: This prospective cross-sectional study was undertaken to determine the normative and perceived orthodontic treatment needs of children aged 11−12 years in a Caribbean country, Trinidad and Tobago.
Methods: One author, an experienced orthodontist, examined 367 children using the Dental Health Component (DHC) of the Index of Orthodontic Treatment Need (IOTN) to assess the normative need. The same orthodontist administered the questionnaire to assess the patient’s perceived needs using the Aesthetic Component (AC) of the IOTN and the Oral Aesthetic Subjective Impact Scale (OASIS).
Results: The DHC and the AC of the IOTN and the OASIS showed respectively that 61.4%, 2.5% and 0.6% of the children had definite need for orthodontic treatment. The female proportion of the sample was more than the target population but the perceived need and normative need for orthodontic treatment did not depend significantly (p < 0.05) on the gender or ethnicity of the subjects of this study. The perception of need for orthodontic treatment differed inversely from the normative need and this is seen to be significant (p < 0.05) when OASIS was used.
Conclusions: Approximately three out of five children in Trinidad and Tobago have a great (or very great) need for orthodontic treatment for dental health reasons.