Interceptive orthodontics, also known as phase I orthodontics, essentially refers to any situation where growth, development, or eruption of teeth is far enough outside of the normal limits that some amount of interventional orthodontics is required to reestablish a normal growth and eruption sequence for a developing child.

True to its name, it intercepts orthodontic problems in childhood as they are spiraling out of control. The goals of interceptive orthodontics should be clear and concise with the end goal being a reduced complexity, reduced treatment time second or comprehensive phase of orthodontic treatment. Our doctors want to emphasize that interceptive orthodontics stands alone as a treatment offering and having interceptive treatment done does not necessarily exclude the need for comprehensive orthodontics. But it will do this: create appropriately shaped arches for future eruption, reduce or eliminate the need for adult tooth extractions, prepare the jaws for more ideal growth during the upcoming puberty growth spurt, and reduce or eliminate asymmetries related to eruption or development.

Typically, interceptive orthodontics is performed between the ages of 7 and 11 years old. When interceptive orthodontics is performed between ages 7-11, the first set of permanent molars are usually in and the teeth, jaw and gums are extremely pliable.

The possibility of outstanding benefits of well-timed interceptive orthodontics marks the primary reason the American Association of Orthodontists recommends all children are screened by an orthodontist for growth, development, and eruption by the age of 7.

Comprehensive orthodontic treatment (full braces or clear aligner treatment of all of the permanent teeth) is typically performed between the ages of 11.5 and 14 for girls and 12-15 in boys when the permanent teeth have come in and puberty growth potential is most likely. Having a preliminary orthodontic assessment by age 7 to help screen for some of the problems listed below will help assure comprehensive treatment does not become very difficult for your child.

If we can reduce or prevent the extraction of adult teeth, shorten treatment times with comprehensive orthodontics, improve facial balance and growth, prevent trauma or social issues related to protrusive teeth, and assist in prevention of ectopic or impacted teeth, interceptive orthodontics will provide tremendous value for your child.

Does your child need interceptive orthodontics?

It may be very beneficial if your pediatric dentist or orthodontist finds the following issues in your child’s dental development:

  • Teeth crowding
  • Overbites and underbites
  • Crossbite (misalignment of back teeth caused by a constricted palate)
  • Jaw irregularities (unevenness in upper and lower jaw)
  • Narrow dental arches (from thumb-sucking and pacifier habits)
  • Early loss of primary teeth with drift of adult teeth
  • Family history of impacted teeth (teeth that got stuck somewhere in mom or dad’s mouth)
  • Protruding teeth at risk for trauma or causing social distress (teasing)

Interceptive orthodontics correct the above issues before they worsen or become impossible to correct when the jaw bones are fully developed.

What do orthodontists do for interceptive treatment?

Some of the procedures include:

  • Maintaining space for permanent teeth in case of early loss of baby tooth
  • Regaining space in the situation where a baby tooth has been gone for a period of time and other teeth drifted into the site
  • Upper jaw expansion to correct crossbite
  • Upper and lower expansion to create space (with expanders or limited braces)
  • Protrusion reduction (for overbites and to reduce risk of injury to front teeth)
  • Stopping thumb and pacifier habits
  • Selective, targeted removal of over-retained primary teeth that are in the way of ideal eruption of coming adult teeth

If your child appears to have some of the problems listed above or if you aren’t sure and want a professional opinion on how your child is growing, developing, and erupting teeth, we would love to help! Give us a call today to set up a personal consultation with one of our orthodontists.

About Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontic Specialists of Michigan, the offices of Drs. Plunkett, Ralstrom, Makowski, Thanasas, Ker, and Associates

Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontic Specialists of Michigan have specialized in pediatric dentistry and orthodontics since 1968. Our family-friendly and newly renovated office gives patients and families a more comfortable and consistent experience with dentistry from the very beginning. Our pediatric dentists treat children from newborn to 18 years of age while our orthodontists provide care for both children and adults and are proud to be Premier Providers of Invisalign and Invisalign Teen services. The ability to treat all patients with compassion and individuality, including those that may have special needs reaches beyond our facility, which has treatment rooms available for children who require additional privacy and customized care options.  We pioneered valued hospital affiliations to allow dental services to be performed at DMC Children’s Hospital and St. John Macomb Hospital, when appropriate or necessary, and our specialists are also proud to be on staff at Henry Ford and Beaumont hospitals.

39400 Garfield Rd., Suite 200
Clinton Township, MI
Phone: 586-286-0700
Fax: 586-286-5932