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Orthodontic treatment planning: can we plan for stability?


Careful orthodontic treatment planning should involve the delineation of clear treatment objectives within each dental arch. Treatment planning decisions are underpinned by aesthetic goals, dental health considerations and the prospect of stability, with these factors often competing. There is also a near-universal acceptance of the requirement for some form of retention. A novel hierarchy of orthodontic stability is proposed. As further evidence emerges and technical refinement continues, it is likely that this will undergo further adaptation. Ultimately, however, this knowledge will ensure that our understanding of the merits of orthodontic intervention, allied to the burden of retention, can be clearly presented to prospective orthodontic patients.

Key points

  • There is a key interplay between often competing occlusal, functional and aesthetic goals during orthodontics.

  • A novel hierarchy of orthodontic stability accounting for contemporary approaches to retention is proposed.

  • This hierarchy will be subject to adaptation but should underpin our understanding of the merits of orthodontic intervention, allied to the burden of retention, and therefore could be integral both to planning decisions and decision-making.

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Correspondence to Padhraig S. Fleming.

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Fleming, P. Orthodontic treatment planning: can we plan for stability?. Br Dent J 230, 717–721 (2021).

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