Historically, most patients did not commence orthodontic treatment until all of their permanent teeth had erupted and then had a malocclusion diagnosed and addressed at the age of about 12-14. Waiting this long often necessitated the extraction of several permanent teeth in order to create space for orthodontic movement. More extensive movement necessitated the use of headgear and other orthodontic appliances. It was noted that teen cooperation in wearing such appliances was often problematic.
Interceptive orthodontics is a technique and philosophy which was developed to address certain orthodontic problems between the ages of 7-11.This early intervention and phased treatment can result in fewer extracted teeth and better patient compliance.
Some of the techniques used in this interceptive orthodontic phase include arch expansion, which allows more room for permanent teeth and orthopedic growth appliances which enhance jaw growth and make later orthodontic treatment much simpler.
These early interventions act as Phase 1 of a two step orthodontic treatment. Phase 2 will occur closer to the time when standard orthodontics generally takes place. Interceptive orthodontic techniques will allow Phase 2 of the treatment to become simpler, shorter and less extensive than it otherwise would have been.