Interceptive (Early) Orthodontic Treatment

The Australian Society of Orthodontists recommends that every child be evaluated by an orthodontist no later than age 7. Early evaluation provides both timely detection of problems and greater opportunity for more effective treatment. Appropriate intervention can influence growth and development, preventing more serious problems later. Even when early orthodontic intervention is not necessary, we can carefully monitor the growth and development of the patient and begin treatment when timing is ideal.

Overall, the purpose of interceptive treatment is to guide the permanent teeth into their correct position and to facilitate proper growth and development of the jaws.

These are some of the specific goals of interceptive treatment: 
 
•    Create room for crowded, erupting teeth
•    Preserve space for unerupted permanent teeth and reduce the likelihood of impacted permanent teeth
•    Establish facial symmetry or balance by modifying jaw growth
•    Harmonize the width of the dental arches
•    Eliminate crossbites that, if uncorrected, may negatively affect growth of the jaws or cause premature wear on the teeth
•    Lower the risk of trauma to protruding front teeth
•    Reduce the need for tooth extraction in the future
•    Simplify and/or shorten treatment time for later corrective orthodontics
•    Improve some speech problems
•    Correct harmful oral habits
•    Improve self-esteem

Interceptive treatment aims at establishing proper growth and development rather than focusing specifically on the alignment of the teeth. This is because many of the permanent teeth have yet to erupt. In specific instances, braces on the front teeth may be indicated for a short time. 
 
Interceptive treatment is followed by an interim resting period during which time the patient usually wears some form of retainer while the remainder of the permanent teeth are allowed to erupt. After eruption of all of the permanent teeth, comprehensive treatment with full braces is generally necessary to align the teeth and achieve a proper bite for optimal aesthetics and function. In rare instances, comprehensive treatment is deemed unnecessary because a reasonable alignment and functionality of the teeth has occurred following interceptive treatment.

FAQ's from Children

How do I take care of them?

The care of your braces will be fully explained when they are placed. You'll get a full run down on cleaning, things to avoid eating (to prevent damage to the teeth and appliances) and how to keep and get yourself out of trouble. 

What types of braces are available?

Braces are available in metal-usually surgical grade stainless steel-and ceramic (the clear ones). There are hundreds of different brace types on the market. You will be fitted with what we feel are the best brace available. Also remember that we may choose a different brace to what's on your mate because it suits your condition better. 

When should my child commence orthodontic treatment?

The Australian and American  Orthodontic Societies recommend initial orthodontic assessment around the age of 7 years when the permanenent incisor teeth are erupting. The majority of children examined at this age will not require immediate treatment, perhaps never however early assessment helps detect problems that can benefit from early intervention. 

Why start treatment early?

Early treatment is only indicated where there is demonstrable benefit in  intercepting a developing problem, that is the condition would worsen without intervention to the point where future treatment was compromised. An example of this would be an extreme bite problem which is amenable to corrective treatment at an early age but potentially difficult or impossible to treat when older. 

Will braces make me talk funny?

No, Braces should not interfere with the way you speak or the sound of your voice. Certain appliances have a minor effect on your voice however the tongue gets conditioned to these appliances quickly and speech returns to normal after a few days.