Pain and discomfort associated with orthodontic separator placement in patients attending the Lagos University Teaching Hospital
Objective: To determine the perception of pain and discomfort over time after orthodontic separator placement in patients attending the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Lagos, Nigeria. Method: Sixty four patients scheduled for treatment with fixed orthodontic appliances completed questionnaires before insertion of separators and after placement at 4 hours, 24 hours and 7 days. The level of pain and discomfort during these time periods was assessed by a visual analogue scale. Results: There was a significant increase in the level of pain/discomfort 4 hours and 24 hours after placement of the separators for all the activities. The level of pain/discomfort peaked at 4 hours but did not return to baseline levels after 7 days. Patients more than 16 years old reported significantly more pain/discomfort over time than those 16 years and under. No significant difference in pain/discomfort was found between the sexes. Conclusion: Patients experience pain/discomfort following placement of orthodontic separators. Pretreatment counselling and analgesics are recommended.