First Phase Treatment (Interceptive)

Head Gear
Head Gear
Interceptive or 'early' is designed to prevent or minimize dental and skeletal problems as they develop. The exact age for this type of treatment is dependent upon what the problem is.
  • Overjet — the upper front teeth are ahead of the lower front teeth an excessive amount when biting on the back teeth
  • Underbite — the lower front teeth are ahead of the upper front teeth when biting on the back teeth
  • Deep bite — the upper front teeth overlap the lower front teeth by an excessive amount
  • Open bite — there is a gap or space between the upper and lower front teeth when biting on the back teeth
  • Crossbite — the lower front teeth are making contact on the outside of the upper front teeth
  • Excessive spacing — there are large spaces between the teeth
  • Crowding — the upper and lower teeth do not have enough room to be straight

These problems can be due to a mismatch in the size and/or position of the teeth or of the jaws. Since children are growing, they may benefit from an early phase of orthodontic treatment. Orthodontic appliances can be used to improve the jaw shape and relationship along with the position of the teeth within the jaws. Research shows that early treatment does decrease the potential for teeth to wear down or chip. In addition, a child’s self-esteem may improve as they are no longer worried about their smile.

Interceptive treatment can decrease the time for the second phase of treatment. It normally does not eliminate the need for further treatment when all of the permanent teeth are in. However, a problem left untreated until later could result in a jaw discrepancy too severe to allow achievement of an ideal result with braces alone.

The first phase may involve partial braces in one or both arches, an expander, a headgear or a functional appliance.

Intermediate Retention Period — Retainers may be recommended at the end of the first phase for a short period. During this time the remaining permanent teeth erupt. The patient is seen periodic for observation. Since the teeth are not in their final position, a second phase is undertaken.

Retainer Retainer