Interceptive And Comprehensive Orthodontics

In most cases, interceptive orthodontics is more accurately considered orthopedics since it is the jaw that is changed rather than the teeth. As the child’s jaw grows several functional orthodontic appliances can be used to change the shape and size of the jaw. In most cases the jaw is expanded and lengthened to accommodate all of the teeth. This helps to prevent crowding and promotes the normal eruption of the teeth. Because the jaw is affected more than the teeth at this stage, the process is accurately called dentofacial orthopedics but is more commonly referred to as interceptive orthodontics.

For most kids, orthodontic treatment usually begins during their early teenage years when all the baby teeth have fallen out and the permanent teeth have come into their place. Braces are then put on your child's teeth and the teeth are moved into their right position. But sometimes, a bad bite develops during the primary dentition (Baby Teeth) stage or during the mixed dentition phase. Developing malocclusions, or bad bites, can be recognized as early as 2-3 years of age. It is recommended that once a developing, severe malocclusion (bad bite) is noticed that early orthodontics be considered for your child. Early intervention helps to reduce the need for major orthodontic treatment at a later age. Interceptive orthodontic treatment helps corrects problems such as severely crooked and crowded teeth, underbites, overbites, incorrect jaw position, and disorders of the jaw.

Phase I - Mixed Dentition Treatment

This period covers the ages of 6-12 years, with the eruption of the permanent incisors (front) teeth and the 6 year molars. Treatment concerns are with bad jaw relationships and tooth realignment problems. This is an excellent stage to start treatment, when indicated, as your child's hard and soft tissues are usually very responsive to orthodontic forces.

Phase II - Permanent Dentition Treatment

This stage deals with your child's permanent teeth and the development of the final bite relationship.

Dental Devices or Appliances used in Interceptive Orthodontics

There are a number of dental devices that can be used in young children. These devices can be fixed or removable. They holds the molars in place until other permanent teeth have erupted. The dental devices can work primarily on the teeth, on the jaw, or both. For example, a rapid palatal expander is a device that may be anchored to the upper teeth, but it actually provides pressure to the palate to increase its size.

Space Maintainer

Sometimes if a child loses a tooth early sometimes a space mainter is all they need. A space maintainer is used to occupy the space left by the lost tooth so that the other teeth don’t move or invade that space inappropriately. These dental devices are chosen based on which teeth are missing. A space maintainer may be cemented in place until the permanent erupts.


After orthodontic treatment custom-made retainers are most often used after braces to keep the teeth in position.  They are most often used before or after dental braces to keep teeth in position while assisting the adjustment of the surrounding gums to changes in the bone. Most patients are required to wear their retainer(s) every night at first, but many are also being required to wear them during the day to.