Treatment timing can be very valuable to the success of orthodontic treatment. Typically we distinguish treatment timing into three distinct groups. The early treatment group consists of children between the ages 7-10. The adolescent treatment group consists of children between the ages 11-17. And the adult group consists of patients 18 and older.
There are advantages with regard to compliance during the early treatment ages. This advantage may be crucial to successful treatment of severe overbites and underbites. Other treatment during this period involves habit breaking treatment, maintenance of space with early tooth loss and correction of crossbites.
Adolescent treatment is by far the most common age for treatment and in many situations the most ideal time for treatment.10-13 is the typical age that the last baby teeth are lost, allowing the alignment of the permanent teeth. Because this coincides with the pubertal growth spurt, we have a large amount of growth which can be harnessed and redirected. Using the child's rapid jaw growth limits the need for extractions of permanent teeth.
Adult treatment is the most growing area within orthodontics. There are many reasons for adult
orthodontic treatment. Treatment can be comprehensive or limited to specific issues. The process of tooth movement is identical to treatment of children with the only limitation being the lack of growth. Some patients need comprehensive treatment and are treated for the first time as adults, where others have revision needs. Revisions can be needed due to relapse, shifting due to tooth loss, crowding associated with aging or a variety of other situations. Sometimes orthodontics is needed in conjunction with periodontal treatment or in preparation for restorative treatment (implant and bridges). Also, orthodontics is frequently the most effective way to correct problems with the temporomandibular (jaw) joints.