Interceptive Orthodontics is a phased type of orthodontics. Growth is utilized to correct developmental occlusion problems. Staging the treatment can correct immediate problems and future issues. Interceptive orthodontics simply means diagnosing and treating malocclusions as soon as they are detected. The American Academy of Orthodontics now says all children should have an orthodontic assessment no later than the age of seven.
In the past, orthodontic treatment did not begin until around age 12-14. This is when all the permanent teeth are already erupted or very close to it. It was also common for your dentist to remove permanent teeth to correct the bite and allow for room for the final phase of tooth movement. Modern orthodontists now advocate a way to keep permanent teeth, with phased interceptive orthodontics. In interceptive orthodontics, children are treated at much earlier ages (usually between age 7-11 years old) to take advantage of continuing growth. Patients at this age tend to be more receptive to, and compliant with treatment. Interceptive orthodontics allows for fewer teeth to be extracted and also allows for better end results.
Parents and patients need to understand that when interceptive orthodontics is performed there is usually more than one phase of treatment. Phase two will begin when all the permanent teeth are in place. Going through phases allows for the second phase to be shorter in duration, since the major corrections happened in the interceptive orthodontics phase. Sometimes interceptive orthodontics are needed to correct problems related to skeletal development, and sometimes it is needed as a direct result of oral habits.
Correction of Thumb Sucking and Pacifier Habits. Persistent thumb sucking, and extended use of a pacifier effect the development of the mouth. Thumb sucking, and pacifier use after the age of three could result in:
Some developmental issues requiring interceptive orthodontics include:
Some of the most direct results of interceptive treatment are:
Orthodontics is not just for improving the appearance of the smile. Orthodontic treatment improves malocclusions. Malocclusions occur as a result of tooth or jaw misalignment. Malocclusions affect the way you smile, chew, clean your teeth or even the way you feel about your smile. Recent studies have shown that malocclusions left untreated can result in problems as we age. Crowded teeth are much more difficult to brush and floss which may contribute to tooth decay and periodontal disease. Protruding teeth are more susceptible to accidental chipping. Crossbites can result in unfavorable growth and uneven tooth wear. Open bites can result in tongue-thrusting habits and speech impediments.
In the end, orthodontics is not just about a pretty smile. It adds to one's function and ability to maintain healthy teeth throughout their lives.