Background The objectives for this study were to assess Oral Health Related Quality of Life (OHRQoL) in young people aged 15–25 who sought orthodontic treatment, and to measure the association between orthodontic treatment need (using the IOTN), sex, age and education level, and oral health related quality of life (OHRQoL). Methods Survey of a consecutive series of 323 young adults aged 15 to 25 years, attending orthodontic clinics at the Faculty of Dentistry, Universiti Teknologi MARA. Participants completed the Oral Health Impact Profile-14 (OHIP-14) and had a clinical examination including the Index of Orthodontic Treatment Need- Dental Health Component (IOTN-DHC). Data analyses included descriptive statistics, One-way ANOVA and bivariate and multivariate regression models. Results The mean overall score (± SD) for OHIP-14 in young people aged 15–25 was 22.6 ± 12.5. The psychological discomfort domain was the domain where highest impact was recorded with a mean (± SD) of 4.0 ± 1.9. The regression analyses showed a significant association of IOTN-DHC with overall OHIP-14 score (p < 0.05). Although females reported a slightly higher impact than males, this was not significant in both bivariate and multivariate analyses. Age group had a significant negative association with overall OHIP-14 score (p < 0.05). The 15–18 year old group showed the highest impact on their quality of life due to malocclusion. Participants with a university education report a significantly higher impact on OHRQoL as compared to participants with only secondary education. Conclusion Malocclusion has a significant negative impact on OHRQoL and its domains. This is greatest for the psychological discomfort domain. Younger people and those with a university education report higher levels of impact. There was no reported difference in impact between male and females.