An important branch of orthodontics is the so-called interceptive orthodontics which deals precisely with the identification of malocclusions with the aim of preventing or reducing them. In fact, malocclusions can be treated more effectively if caught early in pediatric patients.
Interceptive orthodontics therefore aims to maintain, correct or restore the bone relationship between the jawbones and the dental arches. In addition to that, it also deals with the alignment of the teeth.
Mercuri Orthodontie is specialized in this branch of orthodontics, with the dual objective of restoring the aesthetic and functional balance of children's smiles. Dental problems not only affect a person's beauty, but can affect chewing, speaking and breathing. Any dysfunction that is neglected over time can be subject to aggravation, which in the most severe cases may lead to surgery.
So let's see what interceptive orthodontics is, when it is used and what are the benefits.
What is interceptive orthodontics
Interceptive orthodontics plays an important preventive role, because it consists precisely in intercepting the presence of a problem affecting the oral cavity to avoid the worst consequences.
It generally has 2 stages. During the first phase we intervene on the muscular forces which can create a conditioning on the development of the bones of the jaw. We therefore use mobile or fixed devices and language rehabilitation exercises to promote the harmonious development of the jaw. We are therefore working on mixed dentition, that is to say on deciduous and permanent teeth, in children aged 5 to 9 years. During this stage, it can be useful to collaborate with other professionals such as the speech therapist and the osteopath, in order to take care of all the functional aspects of the mouth.
In the second stage, the finishing orthodontic treatment begins, as a consolidation phase. Two-stage therapy has the advantage of promoting optimal correction of the skeletal defect.
The other type of therapeutic approach is the “one step” stage which begins later and mainly uses fixed devices with the addition of elastics, mandibular thrusters, etc.
The choice between the 2 methods depends on our assessment of the initial situation of the oral cavity of the pediatric patient.
For example, in the case of a growth defect in the transverse direction of the upper jaw, the mouth will show an alteration. This can be due to both genetic and environmental factors. These are bad behaviors such as biting nails, nibbling on objects, sucking the thumb, etc. In the presence of an altered development of the transverse dimension of the palate of the child, one proceeds in a first phase using the rapid palatal expander, for example.
In the second phase, we can take care of the alignment of the teeth using, for example, brackets, of which there are different types and in various materials.
When do we use interceptive orthodontics and what are the benefits
In the past, in the dental field, malocclusions were only treated when the children reached 12/14 years, that is to say when the permanent dentition was finished. Today, thanks to new technologies, it is possible to start orthodontic treatments from the age of 5/6 years.
In this way, we will follow the growth of the pediatric patient, correctly leading the development of the maxillofacial structure. The main advantage is the ability to intervene on anomalies before they escalate into something more serious, or stabilize, making any type of intervention more difficult.
The duration of treatment also depends on how quickly you intervene. For these reasons, the first orthodontic consultation plays a crucial role. During the consultation, we carefully assess the condition of the patient's small oral cavity. We will also use some tools such as orthopantomography; intra and extra-oral photos; impressions of the dental arches; tele-lateral radiography etc.
During the first consultation, it is advisable to inform us if there are also snoring problems; nocturnal dyspnea; swallowing and speech problems in children.
In principle, treatment with the device generally lasts between 12 and 18 months, although these times obviously vary depending on the case to be treated. Under certain circumstances, positive results may be obtained after one year of treatment.
In addition to the first consultation, we advise parents to educate their children on the prevention, by eliminating certain bad habits such as thumb sucking; the use of the pacifier after the age of 3; the habit of putting objects in the mouth; using the baby-bottle for too long, etc.
Interceptive orthodontics therefore plays a role of primary importance in correcting most of the anomalies in the oral cavity of the child. The goal is to improve the functionality of the mouth and also the aesthetic appearance, smile and feel good about yourself and with others.