The objective behind interceptive orthodontics is to take advantage of a child’s developing smile to prevent future problems from forming. An orthodontic evaluation can identify how the teeth are growing in so that alignment issues or bite concerns can be guided into position during the growth process rather than being corrected after the fact.
A child’s mouth is more receptive to manipulation before the permanent teeth have erupted because the facial bones are much more pliable and receptive to modification. This is exactly why prolonged thumbsucking or tongue thrusting can change the positioning of the teeth, jaw alignment, and may result in an open bite.
Conditions that may benefit from early orthodontics include open bite, deep bite, crossbite, crowding, overjet, spacing, missing teeth, and/or teeth emerging in improper sequence to name a few. Orthodontic cases that require the use of a maxillary expander to widen the jaw especially benefit from interceptive treatment during preadolescence because the suture connecting the two halves of the upper jaw has not hardened yet. Others cases in which the upper front teeth protrude excessively should be corrected early on to prevent the risk for trauma or injury in the event of a fall or hit to the mouth during play.