Early orthodontic treatment: What are the imperatives?

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64 Scopus citations


Background. The authors provide a critical review of the issues involved in determining the appropriate timing of orthodontic treatment. Both single- and two-phase treatments are discussed and guidelines are offered to assist in formulating treatment plans. Overview. In providing orthodontic care for pediatric patients, clinicians often question whether to begin treatment early - during the primary or early-transitional dentition - or wait until all or most of the permanent teeth are present. The authors review the most current literature (from 1991 to 1999), including several recently completed and ongoing randomized clinical trials, to critically evaluate the effectiveness of each approach. Practical Implications. The controversy surrounding early vs. late orthodontic treatment is often confusing to the dental community. This article reviews both sides of the issue for orthodontic treatment of Class II and III malocclusions, as well as for the management of Class I crowding and problems in the transverse dimension. Early orthodontic treatment is effective and desirable in specific situations. However, the evidence is equally compelling that such an approach is not indicated in many cases for which later, single-phase treatment is more effective. Therefore, clinicians must decide, on a case-by-case basis, when to provide orthodontic treatment. For many patients, delaying treatment until later in their dental and skeletal development may be advisable.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)613-620
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Dental Association
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Dentistry


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