Aim: To describe the results of a cross-national survey of orthodontists’ preferences regarding
initiating treatment at various dentition stages. Previous research has demonstrated
high acceptance of early intervention by parents and children, and, in many cases, better
compliance with treatment protocols among younger children than among adolescents.
Methods: The current study questioned orthodontists in three countries. The identical survey,
translated from English to Turkish and Italian, was administered to 137 American, 104
Italian, and 62 Turkish orthodontists. These orthodontists represented a wide cross-section
of their specialty in years of experience, gender, and type of practice. Results: The three
groups agreed on the ideal dentition stage only for some occlusal and skeletal conditions.
The Italian sample was most likely to intervene at the youngest age for 14 of the 41 conditions,
whereas American orthodontists chose treatment at a significantly younger age than
the others for 10 conditions. For most conditions, Turkish orthodontists tended to postpone
treatment longer than the other two groups. Italian orthodontists reported more 2-phase
treatment than either of the other two groups; 1.6 times more than Americans and 1.9 times
more than Turkish orthodontists (P .001). American and Turkish orthodontists reported
that their most frequently treated age group was teens (44.4% and 46.5%, respectively),
with less than 10% aged 6 to 8 years. In contrast, Italian respondents reported an average
17% caseload in the youngest group (P .001). Conclusion: The results highlight variations
in treatment philosophies, despite extensive international communication among orthodontists.
World J Orthod 2004;5:40–47.