The influence of a structured telephone call on orthodontic pain and anxiety

Brian W. Bartlett, Allen R. Firestone, Katherine W.L. Vig, F. Michael Beck, Phillip T. Marucha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Introduction: This purpose of this study was to examine the effects of a structured telephone call after orthodontic appliance placement on self-reported pain and anxiety. Methods: One hundred-fifty orthodontic patients were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 groups and matched for age, sex, and ethnicity. The subjects completed baseline questionnaires to assess their levels of pain (on a 100-mm visual analog scale) and anxiety (Spielberger's State-Trait Anxiety Inventory) before orthodontic treatment. After the initial archwires were placed, all subjects completed the pain questionnaire and state-anxiety inventory at the same time daily for 1 week. One group also received a structured telephone call demonstrating care and reassurance; the second group received an attention-only telephone call, thanking them for participating in the study; the third group served as a control. Results: Although both telephone groups reported significantly less pain (P = .005) and state-anxiety (P = .033) than the control group, there was no difference between the 2 telephone groups (P > .12 for pain; P > .81 for state-anxiety). Conclusions: A telephone call from a health-care provider reduced patients' self-reported pain and anxiety; the content of the telephone call was not important.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)435-441
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthodontics


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