Minor tooth movement, or limited/interceptive orthodontics, is intended to address a problem that involves only a small number of teeth, typically confined to six front teeth on the top, bottom, or both. This is a great way for patients to correct their smiles without the use of full braces or traditional orthodontic appliances. Generally, the treatment time will be much shorter than full braces or Invisalign treatment.

Limited orthodontic treatment is perfect for patients who wish to:

  • correct uneven spacing between the teeth, either gapping or crowding
  • reposition teeth that have shifted following more advanced orthodontic treatment
  • align front-facing teeth to improve the cosmetic appearance of the smile
  • improve the way a bite fits together to relieve excess strain or wear that may be causing tooth damage or straining the jaw joints
  • improve the overall appearance and functionality of the smile and bite

With minor tooth movement procedures, the appliances used are relatively simple in design.  In addition, the movements are minor, so treatment will generally take months, rather than years. Remembering that every case is unique, and depending upon the initial consultation, there are a few common options for minor tooth movement treatment:

  • clear aligners (Invisalign) — a custom-made series of clear plastic trays designed to move the teeth into more desirable positions over time
  • removable orthodontic retainers (a.k.a., spring retainers) — small springs or elastics are attached to these appliances in order to facilitate minor tooth movement
  • traditional fixed orthodontic appliances — these are the commonly known as braces, where small metal or clear brackets are bonded to the teeth with tiny wires fit to encourage movement

As with everything in orthodontics, the correct assessment or diagnosis of the problem is essential to choosing the correct treatment modality. An orthodontist who has advanced training in growth and facial development and in tooth straightening mechanics, such as or Dr. Sears, will be able to provide a thorough examination and carry out any minor tooth movement therapy safely and successfully.