Does Your Child Need Interceptive Orthodontic Treatment?

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If your child’s dentist observes any emerging issues with tooth crowding or alignment, they may recommend interceptive or phase 1 orthodontic treatment

A young girl shows her crowded and now misaligned teeth.

This preventive dental process can help guide the alignment of teeth while the jaw is still growing and flexible. This may minimize or eliminate the need for future treatment

Is Interceptive Orthodontic Treatment Worth the Cost?

The cost of interceptive treatment varies widely, depending on the specific procedures and techniques used by the orthodontist to treat your child.

While the cost of phase 1 orthodontic care can sometimes be high, it is almost always less expensive than phase 2 (comprehensive orthodontic) treatment. Orthodontic care for children over the age of 11, who never received phase 1 treatment, is often more complicated because, by then, the jaw, gums, and teeth are less pliable. 

By correcting problems early, you may actually save a considerable amount of money on the cost of phase 2 care. Sometimes, your child may not even need comprehensive orthodontic treatment after receiving interceptive care. 

However, this is not the case for everyone, and an in-depth consultation with a qualified orthodontist will help you weigh the benefits and costs. Check with your health insurance provider to see if they can cover some of this expense.

The bottom line is that you should have your child screened no later than age seven by an orthodontist with extensive early intervention experience, as advised by the American Association of Orthodontists.

Consider the Benefits of Phase 1/Interceptive Orthodontics

Phase 1 orthodontic care can treat the following problems with your child’s teeth and jaw before the jaw bones are fully developed:

  • Crowded teeth 
  • Impacted teeth
  • Unbalanced jaw
  • Protruding teeth 
  • Overbite, underbite, and crossbite
  • Damage to dental arches caused by thumb-sucking and pacifiers

Without early intervention, these issues will likely become worse and, in some cases, difficult to correct without surgery.

With interceptive treatment, your child may not require further orthodontic care

If later treatment is needed, they can often avoid more invasive procedures and may also be eligible for Invisalign® clear dental aligners rather than traditional braces.

What Can Interceptive Orthodontic Treatment Achieve?

Phase 1 orthodontic procedures are designed to:

  • Curb thumb-sucking and pacifier use
  • Reduction of protrusion to correct overbites and reduce the risk of dental injury
  • Jaw expansion to create more space for emerging teeth or to correct a crossbite 
  • Maintain space for permanent dentition if your child loses their baby teeth too early
  • Restore space when a baby tooth has been missing for an extended period, causing other teeth to shift into the area

Which Therapies Are Most Often Used During Phase 1 Orthodontic Treatment

To achieve the corrections listed above, your child’s dentist may use the following dental appliances or procedures:  

  • Space maintainers
  • Expansion appliances
  • Specially designed retainers
  • A short phase of braces with or without headgear
  • Functional appliances (a removable device that works with the jaw and facial muscles to improve a misaligned bite

Sometimes, one or more primary teeth can remain in place too long, preventing the ideal eruption of adult teeth. In this case, gentle extraction allows each affected adult tooth to emerge correctly.

Phase 1/Interceptive Orthodontics in San Diego, CA 

Dr. Kami Kohani and the entire team at  La Jolla Cosmetic Dentistry & Orthodontics are committed to ensuring your whole family’s teeth and gums are healthy and beautiful. 

Dr. Kohani is highly skilled and experienced and regularly provides phase 1 and 2 orthodontic treatment at his San Diego, California, dental practice. You can count on Dr. Kohani and his team for gentle and compassionate care.

Call Dr. Kohani’s office at (858) 622-1007 or fill out the contact form below to learn more about early orthodontic treatment for your child today!