For many decades, orthodontics focused on correcting problems once the jaw was finished developing. The current approach divides orthodontic treatment into two phases; the first phase, called interceptive orthodontics, seeks to influence the teeth and jaw growth in younger patients as they grow, a process that is both easier and more effective than waiting for issues to occur and then correcting them.
Our interceptive orthodontic appliances include:
Sometimes children lose their baby teeth too early. To prevent adjacent teeth from shifting into these newly empty spaces, we use space maintainers to act as a guide for the eruption of permanent teeth. They can be fixed or removable; plastic or stainless steel.
The Reverse Headgear is used in Reversed Bite cases where the Lower Jaw is forward of the Upper Jaw and thus the lower front teeth are in front of the upper front teeth. This appliance stimulates the upper jaw to grow forward and down.
Palatal Expander Device (PEDs)
When we anticipate that the upper jaw will not have adequate space for the eruption of adult teeth or a child’s jaw is not properly aligned, we can increase its width using a palatal expander device, or PED. PEDs are affixed to the teeth and parents are given a key to turn once a day in order to gradually expand the jaw.
The Lip Bumper is a simple way to increase the width of the lower jaw to provide more room for erupting adult teeth. It is often used in conjunction with a Palatal Expander Device.
Carriere® Motion 3D Appliance
The Motion 3D Appliance is a relatively new device to correct mild to moderate overbites. When the overbite is due to dental issues as opposed to skeletal growth issues, this device can correct these overbites in a fraction of the time it would have taken a Headgear appliance.
Invisalign Mandibular Advancement Appliance
The Invisalign MA Appliance is a new appliance released in 2019 as an alternative for the Herbst Appliance. It is capable of correcting moderate to severe overbites faster than a Herbst appliance but requires absolute patient cooperation.
Herbst appliances are one of the tools we use to correct moderate to severe overbites. When the lower jaw sits too far back, a Herbst appliance repositions the jaw and moves it forward. This is a fixed appliance that is cemented in place and therefore worn continuously until the overbite is corrected.
Frequently Asked Questions About Interceptive Orthodontics
Is early orthodontic treatment necessary?
Not all children need early orthodontic treatment, but for those that do, it’s a good idea to get it because it leads to better overall results and can mean less time in braces as a teenager. Shaping the jaw as it develops is a much more effective means of treatment than waiting for the jaw to finish growing and then attempting to correct problems through compromise. Early orthodontic treatment or Interceptive Orthodontics is used to address the true case of a patient’s misaligned bite and thus will result in a more functional and stable bite.
Is it better to get braces younger or older?
We generally don’t use braces for young children; instead, we use interceptive orthodontic treatments like those described above and, if needed, proceed with braces when children reach their early teens.
Are space maintainers painful?
No, space maintainers are not painful. They simply hold space open for adult teeth to erupt—unlike other interceptive orthodontic treatments, they’re not pushing or pulling the jaw or teeth. If your child is experiencing pain from their space maintainer, something may be wrong with it. Please call us and make an appointment.
What is the best age to get a palate expander?
We usually recommend palatal expander devices somewhere between the ages of 8 and 13, depending on your child’s orthodontic case.
How long do you need to wear a Herbst appliance?
Treatment time depends on your child’s unique needs; but treatment time ranges from 12 to 18 months.
Call 203-625-9888 to learn more and schedule your appointment.