Interceptions. In football, an interception could be a good thing for one team and a bad thing for the other. In dentistry, interceptions are pretty much always a win-win situation. We win because we get to help the patient avoid a problem that could be painful or frustrating. Clearly, patients who avoid pain and frustration win by sidestepping an unnecessary problem. This can apply to everything from avoiding cavities to getting early care that maximizes oral development. We’re talking about interceptive orthodontics.
What is Interceptive Orthodontics?
The term interceptive orthodontics is used to describe early orthodontic care. Some refer to this multi-phase process as functional orthodontics. By whatever name, the early detection and management of potential alignment issues can make a world of difference in a child’s oral health and, importantly, confidence. Because interceptive orthodontics may begin as early as age 7 (the age by which all children should be evaluated for alignment), there are years of potential before the jaw is fully developed.
Treatment is tailored to the individual patient and developed to achieve a specific goal. For instance, a child with crowding may require assistance in jaw expansion. Children with narrow arches may need a little help with palate expansion as their jaw develops.
Candidates for Interceptive Orthodontics
There are several reasons why a child may be a good candidate for interceptive orthodontics. These include:
- Narrow dental arches
- Poor jawbone shape
- Thumb-sucking or pacifier use
- Severe tongue thrusting
- Constricted palate
- Uneven jaw development
- Protrusion of front teeth
Advantages of Interceptive Orthodontics
One of the primary benefits of acting early to offset issues in an oral structure is that, when braces are worn after the jaw has fully matured, treatment will be much less involved. Additional reasons to consider early orthodontic care for your child include:
- Crowded teeth get the room they need to align properly
- Molars are better able to grow into a properly-sized palate
- Tooth extraction may not be necessary before braces
- The risk of injury to teeth or soft tissue is reduced
- Facial symmetry is more easily achieved