Article: Volume 46 Number 7 Page 646 - July/August 2019

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  Dent Update 2019; 46: 646-652

Orthodontics:  Orthodontic Management of Patients with Autistic Spectrum Disorder

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Abstract: Autism is a life-long developmental disability that affects how people perceive the world and interact with others. The aetiology of autism has not been clearly identified. Affected individuals experience difficulty in social interaction and changes in their environment. There appears to be a higher percentage of malocclusion within the population with special needs than the normal population, and the demand for orthodontic treatment from this group of patients is likely to increase in line with awareness of autism and access to care. The strategies available to manage patients with autism successfully are discussed here.

Clinical relevance: Understanding the difficulties faced by individuals affected by autistic spectrum disorder and anticipating the challenges in the provision of their care is of paramount importance in the context of their orthodontic management. These challenges, and the strategies available to successfully negotiate them, are concisely presented.

Author notes: Hesham Ali, BDS, MDPH, MSc (Orthodontics), MFDS RCSEd, MOrth RCSEng, Senior Registrar in Orthodontics, University Dental Hospital of Manchester and Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust (email:, Brekhna Mushtaq, BDS and Ovais Malik, BDS, MSc(Orth), MFDS RCSEd, MOrth RCSEng, MOrth RCSEd, FDS(Orth) RCSEng, Consultant in Orthodontics, University of Manchester Dental School and Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, Stott Lane, Manchester M6 8HD, UK.

Objective: To understand the difficulties in managing autistic patients and how autism affects malocclusion.