Often habits such as prolonged thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, and certain swallowing or breathing patterns that can open or distort the bite are better dealt with when care is initiated at a younger age. Interceptive treatment is also helpful when the top jaw is too narrow, not developing in harmony with the lower jaw, or permanent top teeth are behind the lower ones when closing the jaws. Likewise, if a young child’s front teeth protrude excessively or very severe crowding is present a first phase of orthodontic care can be beneficial.

The objectives of interceptive treatment and a first phase of orthodontic care are to influence jaw growth, create more space for crowded teeth, help to correct harmful habits, and improve facial aesthetics. With interceptive treatment the likelihood of impacted permanent teeth as well as the need for extractions of permanent teeth can be lessened. Interceptive treatment can also simplify the next phase of orthodontic care.