In the past, children are to begin orthodontic treatment when they reach age 12 to 14 years since all the permanent teeth have erupted by this time. Most dentist extract a tooth to correct bite problem or teeth crowding. However, according to the American Academy of Orthodontics, all children should be brought to the dentist for proper orthodontic assessment by age 7 when the first set of permanent molars had erupted. Treating children at much earlier ages, say between 7 to 11 years, will take advantage of the child’s continuing growth and they are more compliant and receptive with treatment at this age. With interceptive orthodontics, fewer teeth are extracted and there are better results.

Interceptive Orthodontics nairobi
Interceptive Orthodontics nairobi

What is Interceptive Orthodontics?

Interceptive orthodontics is a phased type of orthodontics which is the practice of extracting malocclusions once they are detected in an attempt to avoid adult malocclusion. Tooth growth is used to address developmental occlusion problems. This is done in two situations – by retaining deciduous teeth, and where there is malocclusion in the deciduous teeth and extracting these teeth can allow the patient to correct itself during the growth phase.

Interceptive Orthodontics for Children

Interceptive orthodontics is often the first phase. It may not prevent the need for braces, retainers, or other orthodontic treatment in later years but it can minimize the second phase of treatment. Phase two will start when all the permanent teeth have erupted at 12 to 14 years. The second phase will be shorter in duration since there will be minimal corrections to be made. In this phase, skeletal development problems are corrected. Phase two is also sometimes used to correct problems resulting from oral habits, such as:

  • Thumb sucking and pacifier habits. If these habits persisted after the child reaches the age of three, the following are likely to occur:
    • a reshaped jawbone given its soft and pliable nature
    • mis-aligned teeth growing out of position
    • narrower dental arches
    • extreme tongue thrust habits
    • protruding front teeth which may be more susceptible to injury
    • “open bites” that would require extensive corrective orthodontic treatment
  • Some developmental issues that will require interceptive orthodontics include:
    • constricted palate causes misalignment of back teeth commonly called crossbite
    • Teeth crowding
    • uneven development of upper and lower jaw

Advantages of Interceptive Orthodontics

Early orthodontic treatment may prevent serious problems from developing and may make treatment at a later stage shorter and less complicated. Early treatment gives your orthodontist the chance to:

  • guide jaw growth to create facial symmetry
  • lower the risk of trauma to protruded front teeth
  • correct harmful oral habits
  • improve appearance and self-esteem
  • guide permanent teeth into a more favorable position
  • improve the way lips meet
  • create room for crowded, erupting teeth
  • preserving space for un-erupted teeth
  • reducing the need for tooth removal
  • reducing treatment time