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Identification of The Use of Substances Among Orthodontic Patients

Author: Asma Alhusna Abang Abdullah

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Lim Yan Jia¹, Tan Jia Yi¹, Nurul Asyikin Yahya², Asma Alhusna Abang Abdullah³


Objective: Substance abuse among the youth is rising and may cause abnormal manifestation in the oral cavity. Hence, orthodontic dental setting is a potential venue to detect substance abuse among these young patients. This study aimed at identifying the use of substances among young adults attending orthodontic clinics and to describe their oral manifestations related to the substances. 

Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted between the periods of October 2020 to January 2021. Identification of substance abuse was done to 138 orthodontic patients aged 15-30 years old using an online validated questionnaire. The validated questionnaire included the patient’s demographic data and their use of substances i.e. tobacco, vape and alcohol. 47 subjects were clinically assessed for intraoral manifestations of the substance use. Ethical approval and consent from all subjects will be sought prior to the start of study.

Results: The prevalence of subjects who smoke was 2.9%. 4.35% and 15.22% of the respondents were identified as vape users and alcohol users respectively. However, none of the respondents were abuser/dependent based on the frequency and duration of the usage. For the clinical examination, nicotine stomatitis was detected in one subject (2.13%). Periodontal status with BPE ≥ 3 was identified in 24 subjects (51.06%). Tooth staining was detected on 5 subjects (11.90%) and dental erosion was identified in 1 subject (2.13%). Dental attrition was found on 15 subjects (31.91%). 

Conclusion: Minority of young adults attending an orthodontic clinic are light users of either cigarette, vape or alcohol. Intraoral manifestations of substance usage were also minimal. 

Keywords: Smokers, substance abuse, orthodontic clinic 

  1. Final Year Dental Student, Faculty of Dentistry, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia
  2. Dental Public Health Specialist/Lecturer, Faculty of Dentistry, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia
  3. Orthodontic Specialist/Lecturer, Faculty of Dentistry, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia


Correspondence to: Dr Asma Alhusna Abang Abdullah, Associate Professor, Faculty of Dentistry, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia, Malaysia, [email protected] 


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