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Abstract: Pain is a major apprehension of patients prior to orthodontic treatment. No study has compared a non-pharmacological option and an over the counter analgesic medication (OTC) for pain management. A parallel two group stratified block randomized clinical trial was designed to assess the pain response of adolescents during the first week following initial arch wire placement. Subjects were randomly assigned to one of two pain management groups: bite wafer (BW) or over the counter analgesics (OTC). Pain levels were reported using a numerical rating scale (NRS) and the Gracely Box scale at 8 different time points over a 7 day period. The pattern of current pain level over time was similar for the two groups (P=0.88) and the overall current pain level was not statistically different for the two groups (P=0.36). The use of a bite wafer was not inferior to the use of OTC medications for pain management.
Conclusions: The use of a bite wafer was not inferior to the use of OTC medications for the management of pain after the placement of an arch wire. The bite wafer is a non-pharmacological option for pain management following orthodontic procedures that eliminates the possibility of side effects from the use of analgesics and can easily be used at home or school without adult supervision.
A thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in the School of Dentistry (Orthodontics), 2008