Early Treatment and Interceptive Orthodontics
Interceptive treatment is performed on young, growing children in order to deal with issues such as misaligned jaws, severely overcrowded or protruding teeth or to correct harmful oral habits as early as possible. Delivered between the ages of 7 and 9, treatment typically lasts between 8 and 12 months. It often makes later treatment much less complicated.
Moira Wong is a leading consultant trained orthodontist and specialist in interceptive treatment.
Moira recommends that the initial orthodontic evaluation should occur at the first sign of orthodontic problems or no later than age seven. At this early age, orthodontic treatment may not be necessary, but careful examination can anticipate the most advantageous time to begin treatment. This early treatment is aimed at preventing or “intercepting” more serious problems.
Early evaluation provides both timely detection of problems and greater opportunity for more effective treatment. Prudent intervention guides growth and development, preventing serious problems later. When orthodontic intervention is not required in the short term, an orthodontist can carefully monitor growth and development and begin treatment at the ideal time.
Why is age 7 considered the optimal time for screening?
By the time your child is seven years old the first adult molars will have erupted, establishing the back bite. At this time, we can evaluate front-to-back and side-to-side tooth relationships. For example, the presence of erupting incisors can indicate possible overbite, open bite, overcrowding or “gummy” smiles. Timely screening increases the chances for a wonderful smile and the avoidance of braces during the teen years.
The advantages of interceptive treatment
Benefits of interceptive treatment include:
- Creating room for crowded, erupting teeth
- Creating facial symmetry through influencing jaw growth
- Reducing the risk of trauma to protruding front teeth
- Preserving space for unerupted teeth
- Reducing the need for tooth removal
- Reducing treatment time with braces
- Faster treatment
- Less teenage angst!