Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Bhavna Shroff


Objective: The aim of this study was to (1) assess the orthodontic patient and practitioner use and preferences of social media, and (2) to investigate the potential benefit of social media in marketing and communication strategies in orthodontic practices. Material and Methods: A survey was distributed to all participants, which included orthodontists from the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) and patients/parents from the VCU Orthodontic Clinic and Private Practices throughout the United States. The participants were asked to answer questions related to their use of social media as well as their perceptions of usage of social media in the orthodontic practice. Results: 76% of orthodontists, 71% of the VCU Practice participants and 89% of the Private Practice participants used social media, with the highest preference for Facebook among all of the participants. Orthodontist’s posed information more often in the morning and afternoon (40% and 56%, respectively) and patients used social media mainly in the evening (76%). The most commonly used marketing strategies in the orthodontic practice were social media and a practice website (76% and 59%, respectively). Social media and practice websites were positively related to new patient starts (P=0.0376, P=0.0035, respectively). Newspapers were negatively related to new patient starts (P=0.0003). Conclusions: Social media use was more common in females and younger adults and facebook was the most commonly used social media site among all of the participants. Orthodontists posted information on social media websites mainly in the morning and afternoon, while patients spend more time on social media sites in the evening. Newspaper advertisements were negatively related to new patient starts. Facebook and Twitter were positively related to new patient starts when used as a marketing and communication tool in the orthodontic practice.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

May 2014

Included in

Dentistry Commons