Timing of Treatment

The timing of orthodontic treatment is a critical determinant of future treatment success, and it varies uniquely for each individual. Achieving the right timing can make all the difference.

Initiating orthodontic treatment prematurely can lead to prolonged treatment, patient burnout, and suboptimal outcomes. On the other hand, delaying treatment may miss the window of opportunity for natural growth correction, potentially requiring more complex and invasive procedures.

In our role as experienced orthodontists, our primary commitment is to deliver effective treatments precisely when needed, ensuring optimal results and making the orthodontic journey as smooth as possible for our patients.

Early Orthodontic Intervention

(Prior to adolescent growth spurt):

Most orthodontists recommend scheduling an initial orthodontic assessment for children around the ages of 7 or 8. Early treatment plays a vital role in addressing orthodontic issues that can adversely affect future dental development and skeletal growth. Here are some key examples:

  • Posterior crossbite: this issue may trigger a mandibular shift, leading to asymmetrical dento-alveolar compensation and uneven enamel wear, complicating future orthodontic correction.
  • Anterior crossbite: this is sometimes caused by an underdeveloped Maxilla, where early intervention may maximise growth potential, eliminate the crossbite, and enhance overall occlusion and smile aesthetics.
  • Large overjet or overbite: such conditions can increase the risk of trauma. Evidence-based research highlights the importance of reducing the overjet or overbite during or even before the adolescent growth spurt, minimising the risk of injury and boosting patient confidence.

It’s important to note that while early treatments can often simplify or even eliminate the need for further orthodontic care, most patients may still benefit from additional treatment at a later stage.

Orthodontic Treatment During the Adolescent Growth Spurt:

One of the most opportune times for comprehensive orthodontic treatment is during the adolescent growth spurt. This phase offers several advantages for both orthodontists and patients. Notably, it marks the period when patients have all their permanent teeth in place, providing orthodontists with a stable foundation to work with. Additionally, the timing aligns with natural growth patterns, which can be especially advantageous for addressing common malocclusions. 

During the adolescent growth spurt, the body’s growth processes are typically on our side, facilitating transverse correction, such as maxillary expansion, and anterior-posterior correction for overjet (and overbite) issues. This means that patients often achieve better and quicker results. The combination of permanent dentition and favourable growth dynamics makes this phase the most common and effective time for most comprehensive orthodontic treatments.

Orthodontic Treatment After the Adolescent Growth Spurt:

Not every patient is suited to receive treatment during the growth spurt, as this is the phase when the lower jaw (mandible) can sometimes outgrow the upper jaw (maxilla). For individuals presenting with an underbite and potentially a significant Class III skeletal base (where the lower jaw protrudes ahead of the upper jaw), it is often prudent to wait until all growth has fully expressed. This approach allows for a comprehensive assessment of the extent of the malocclusion and the underlying skeletal discrepancy before determining the most appropriate course of treatment.

Orthodontic Treatment for Adults:

In recent years, orthodontic treatment for adults has become increasingly popular. With further skeletal growth no longer a factor, it is essential to define precise dental and facial objectives before initiating treatment. In many cases, we adopt a multi-disciplinary approach, collaborating with your family dentists and sometimes other dental specialists to ensure the best possible outcome for you.

At Toorak Orthodontics, we understand that determining the ideal timing for orthodontic treatment can be a complex and intricate process. Each patient is unique, and the expertise of clinicians may also play a role in this decision. We recognise the importance of tailoring treatment to suit individual needs, and we base our approach on evidence-based research.

Our philosophy is clear: comprehensive orthodontic treatment should be approached with efficiency and effectiveness in mind. Whenever possible, our aim is to get it right the first time. We understand that orthodontic care is a significant commitment, and our goal is to provide you with lasting results.

We believe that by doing comprehensive orthodontic treatment once, doing it well, and supporting it with a robust retention strategy, we can offer our patients an almost guaranteed path to a beautiful, healthy smile that lasts a lifetime.