St. Louis Pediatric Dentistry

What is interceptive orthodontics and does my child need it?

Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry focused on aligning teeth and correcting the bite. Orthodontic treatment is typically recommended for children around the ages of 10 to 13 years when all of their permanent adult teeth have come in.

However, some kids can benefit from early orthodontic treatment divided into phases called interceptive orthodontics, which takes place earlier around the ages of seven to 10 years old. This type of treatment is ideal for children who suffer from:

  • Crowded teeth or a narrow jaw
  • Severe overbite, underbite, or crossbite
  • Complications from thumb or pacifier use

Interceptive orthodontics uses a variety of different treatments that can include placing brackets and wires, using a space maintainer or other oral appliance, or a combination of both. The goal is to utilize the child's growth to make room for adult teeth or correct bite alignment issues during the ideal time. Achieving these goals can often be much harder when growth has ceased. Interceptive orthodontics also makes the following phase of orthodontic treatment, which is typically just brackets and wires to align teeth, much more simple and straightforward. 

Your pediatric dentist will watch your son or daughter's oral development so they can discuss any concerns or recommendations for interceptive orthodontics with you in a timely manner.