Interceptive orthodontics is also called airway orthodontics, functional orthodontics, orthotropics or holistic orthodontics. There is no standard name for “focusing on the airway and function of the face and mouth while moving teeth.”
It was once taught that orthodontics or wearing braces should start when all grown up teeth are present. Braces and retainers can help grow the face to its optimum position. However, this means that the child needs to be growing. If we wait until all the permanent teeth are in, most of the development of the face is completed, especially in girls who stop growing several years before boys. Because most of a child’s facial growth occurs before the age of 12, the earlier your child begins orthodontics, the earlier impact it can have on his or her face, jaws, teeth and cheeks in guiding them in the right direction. If there is air airway issue, gaining oxygen intake can do wonders for their overall development. Why wait for a problem to worsen if you can intervene earlier and guide development in a positive way?
This airway focused orthodontics guides the natural growth of the child’s face into a beautifully symmetrical one as a teenager. Functional orthodontics can prevent the need for more invasive procedures, such as jaw surgery for patients later in life. Unlike traditional orthodontics, airway focused orthodontics does not involve extracting or pulling teeth. Orthotropics was developed by Dr. John Mew of London, England in the 1950’s to address the shortcomings of conventional orthodontic treatment which at the time was primarily concerned with the straightening of teeth rather than the proper positioning of the jaws. The best time to begin holistic orthodontics is between 5-10 years old.The goal is to optimize facial development with the upper and lower jaws both being more ideally situated forward in the face. The second goal is to correct the poor oral rest posture, which produced the unfavorable growth in the first place. We may work with myofunctional therapists, (like physical therapists for the mouth) and assess for tongue/lip ties to correct old habits like tongue and lip position along with swallowing and chewing. This helps optimize results.
Interceptive orthodontics is a commitment from the child and the parents. Treatment typically lasts a few years so it’s important for everyone to be on the same page. If you have any questions about orthodontics or are interested in an assessment, please contact us.