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Intraoral Press Reader Survey analysis

by Dr.Samantha Wrighting

A reminder: Dr. Samantha Wrighting is a fictional character and not a real doctor. She exists only on this site, in books such as Retainer Girl, Love and Braces and The Braced Experience and in the imaginations of readers. This essay and all essays attributed to Dr.Wrighting represent the opinions of her character. They should not be construed as the opinion of anyone with any actual orthodontic expertise or training.


In late 2011 and early 2012 we conducted the first Intraoral Press Reader Survey, to learn more about our audience, as well as what readers of the Intraoral Press titles liked about them and what they were looking for. Many thanks to all those who took part in the survey!

I. Who took the survey

The most striking finding was that almost everyone who took the survey was male. Intraoral Press books seem to predominantly attract male readers, and so one important lesson is that we have to try to appeal more strongly to female readers. Possibly women are turned off by the sexual nature of some of the material, but only some of the books are strongly sexual, so I'm not sure that that is the biggest issue.

More than half the responders were in the 35-44 age group, and none were 18 or under. I'm slightly surprised that there were no younger readers, since they're most likely to be undergoing orthodontic treatment, but possibly they are less likely to buy books by themselves and or feel too embarrassed to ask their parents for books on this subject.

Two-thirds of responders had had braces less than I expected and less than a quarter said they had had either headgear or functional appliances. Amazingly, none of the responders currently had braces, though a quarter were in retainers. I expected Intraoral Press books to be of more interest to those undergoing orthodontic treatment, but instead it consists almost entirely of those who have already been through the process or never had them at all. (One person did respond that they might be getting braces.)

The most recent Intraoral Press book, Lights, Camera, Braces! was not included in the survey, but most responders had read at least several of the other books.

The most-read books was Love and Braces, which almost 90% of responders had read; no other book was read by more than two-thirds of responders. Madison's Braces and The Braced Tease were the books that the fewest number of responders less than a third had read.

Readers do seem to like the Intraoral Press books. When asked to rate the individual books, there were only two votes calling a book merely 'O.k.', and none calling it 'Terrible'. Love and Braces got the highest average and absolute ratings, with more than twice as many calling it 'Great' as any other book. Still, a third of readers only considered it 'Good'

The next most-liked books were Bracing Times with Cecilia and then Headgeared, both of which were rated 'Very good' or 'Great' by over 80% of readers. Readers of The Braced Experience were evenly divided between those who considered it 'Good' and those who thought it was either 'Very good' or 'Excellent', while the majority of readers of Notwithstanding Braces thought it was just 'Good'.

Readers of The Braced Tease and Retainer Girl were the most polarized, with each getting one vote both as being 'Excellent' and one as only 'O.k.', with all other readers calling them 'Good' (but none considering them 'Very good')

The reactions to the individual titles are somewhat at odds with the responses to the more general question as to which category of Intraoral Press books the Novels, the Shorts, or the Erotic Orthodontic Encounters readers liked best. More than two-thirds of readers said they loved the Erotic Orthodontic Encounters, and all the rest said they liked them, while readers were evenly divided about the Novels, a third saying they loved them, a third saying they liked them, and a third saying they're just o.k. The Shorts got by far the most 'like' votes, but there were also some who loved them, and some who thought they were just o.k.

II. What readers want

Given that Love and Braces rated so high, it is a bit surprising that readers said their interest in the novels wasn't so great. What is clear is that their interest in sex is great. That's why they like the Erotic Orthodontic Encounters, and that's what most of them are looking for in Intraoral Press books.

Readers are upfront about this too: among the few questions where 100% of responders gave the same answer was in explaining why they liked the Dr.Samantha Wrighting books: "I'm turned on by stories about braces". No one was interested in the books because they had a child who was going through orthodontic treatment one of the few other answers on which there was unanimity and less than a fifth liked them because they were curious about what it's like to undergo orthodontic treatment. Exactly half did say they liked them because 'I think they're really good and well-written stories', which was nice to hear, but only a fifth mentioned specifically that they liked the books because they like the characters and or the plots.

Not surprisingly, when asked What would you like to see more/less of in the Dr.Wrighting books? fully half wanted to see patients in more sexual situations, with only one responder wanting to see less (the rest said the current level was good).

Despite the clear interest in more sex, what responders most wanted to see more of were 'Descriptions of the orthodontic appliances worn by patients' (75%) and 'Descriptions of what it feels like to wear orthodontic appliances' (67%), with half of responders also wanting to see more 'Descriptions of the actual orthodontic procedures'. The Intraoral Press books already offer quite a lot of all of this, but it is clearly not enough for readers, who are looking for more attention to the orthodontic appliances themselves.

The one other category which a significant number of responders wanted to see more of was 'Disobedient patients being punished by Dr.Wrighting'. Interestingly far fewer wanted to see more of 'Disobedient patients being punished by parents' and fully two-thirds wanted to see less!

Fully half of responders wanted to see less of 'Patients facing public humiliation' though about a third wanted to see more. Almost all the Intraoral Press books focus on some public humiliation as part of the experience of wearing braces, so it's interesting to learn that many readers don't respond to this or think there is too great a focus on this. Many apparently don't see having braces as a humiliating experience, which I found very surprising.

Some of the hallmark parts of my treatment of patients in the Intraoral Press books the use of restraints, and having patients wear protective underwear at their appointments and in some cases at home are the least popular. Fully half of the responders wanted to see less use of restraints in the office sorry! that's not going to happen! and two thirds wanted less of patients wearing protective underwear at the office, with over 80% wanting less of them wearing it at home.

I'm a bit surprised by these numbers, though perhaps they reflect the personal experiences of responders, who are unlikely to have been restrained when at an orthodontist, and, if older, did not need protective underwear at their appointments or have bedwetting issues at home. From what I've seen the wearing of protective underwear isn't at all uncommon any more in these situations among younger mostly pre-teen patients, but many readers apparently find it either unrealistic or unpleasant. However, a significant minority of more than a quarter of responders would like to see more use of restraints in the office, and exactly a quarter would like to see more of patients required to wear protective underwear at Dr.Wrighting's.

As far as the orthdontic appliances go, readers seem to place a lot of significance on visibility. Asked What orthodontic appliances would you like to see Dr.Wrighting use on her patients? fully three-quarters answered they would like fixed (metal) braces used all the time, and none wanted them never to be used. By comparison, none answered 'All the time' for fixed (ceramic) braces, fixed lingual braces, or aligners (Invisalign etc.) the only types of orthodontic appliances that no responder wanted to see used all the time. Invisible braces are clearly of the least interest to readers: two-thirds never wanted fixed lingual braces to be used, and fully three-quarters never wanted aligners used. Given how much more prominent the use of aligners has become in orthodontic treatment in recent years responders' interest diverges strongly from actual orthodontic treatment an interesting result.

Other than fixed (metal) braces, the only kind of appliance that no responder wanted to not be used at least sometimes was headgear, which fully a third wanted used all the time. Only elastics got a stronger full-time endorsement, with 40% of responders wanting to see that. Reverse headgear, however, was considerably less popular.

Interest in functional appliances ranged fully across the spectrum, but they were slightly more popular than retainers, which only a quarter of responders wanted to see used all the time. Herbst appliances had the widest split, with 27% wanting to see them 'All the time', 27% 'Sometimes', and 27% 'Never' (the balance voting for 'Frequently'). It was some relief to find that Temporary Anchorage Devices were not high on responders list of interest: only 9% wanted to see them used all the time, and over 45% didn't want them ever to be used.

(While open to whatever orthodontic treatment is most appropriate for each individual case, I am unlikely to ever use Temporary Anchorage Devices, and also generally prefer not to use Herbst appliances. This will not change.)

When asked What characters would you like to see more prominently featured in the Dr.Samantha Wrighting books than they are now? none of the responders wanted to see more children and young teens with braces. It's interesting to see that readers clearly prefer characters they can identify closely with now: all responders want to see more adults with braces - even though there already are many adult characters with braces in the Intraoral Press books. Responders - who are almost all male - also don't want to see any more male patients. Clearly, the preference is for the stories to be about female patients with braces, which also seems to underline the sexual desires readers exhibit.

As far as individual characters go, only one responder wanted to see Dr.Wrighting herself feature more prominently but she already is an important character in all the stories. Slightly more wanted to see Natalie featured more prominently, but given the preference for adult characters it's not surprising that readers seem to find her present role adequate. Among existing characters Cecilia, from Bracing Times with Cecilia, was the character responders wanted to see featured more prominently. (She will be back !)

III. Conclusions

The survey has taught me a lot about the readers of Intraoral Press books, and I will certainly consider the answers and especially what readers are interested in in deciding what books to publish in the future.

Clearly there is a strong urge to see more adult patients get treated and that readers want them to be female patients. I can probably accomodate this, although the practice will always see a lot of younger patients. That's an orthodontist's bread and butter, after all!

Even more attention to the appliances and what it feels like to have them is also something that I should be able to accomodate.

I am disappointed to find that the books seem to reach very few or any readers who are undergoing orthodontic treatment, and this is something I would like change. Given that many readers apparently turn to the books specifically because they are 'turned on' by braces, future publications may be more clearly divided into the more innocent ones that might appeal to those dealing with having braces like Retainer Girl and those that are much more graphic and sexual in nature, and aimed entirely at a mature audience, like the Erotic Orthodontic Encounters.

I'm not sure I can please everyone, but we will try!

Other Dr. Samantha Wrighting essays:
94 Weeks and Single Episodes: The Unfabulous Appearances and Reality of Braces on TV
Lolita's Braces: The orthodontic treatment of Nabokov and his nymphet

See all the Dr. Samantha Wrighting books currently available.

    Our orthodontic fiction is solely meant as entertainment, not information that patients or their parents should rely on. Always consult a dentist or orthodontist about any questions about orthodontic treatment.

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