Orthotropics® treats the face not just the teeth. Orthotropics was developed to guide the growth of the upper and lower jaws and comes from the Greek words Orthos-straight or correct and Tropos-growth. "Orthotropics" describes the Growth Guidance of the Face.
The jaws of our ancestors primarily grew correctly, until we changed our life-style over a period of years. Genetics, diet, lifestyle, and the environment have all greatly challenged the development of our faces. These issues are now attributing to mouth breathing as opposed to nasal breathing. Thereby, altering society's appearance, generation after generation. Pictures over several generations of a family show more and more narrow arches.
Orthodontists often extract teeth to make room and use surgery to reposition the jaws. Other times, Orthodontists split the suture line, not stretch it as Orthotropists do to gain the room they need. Dentists using Orthotropics® believe that malocclusion is a biological problem which should be treated naturally not by surgery.
Removable widening appliances are used to make room for all the teeth and the tongue, followed by training appliances to retrain and realign the jaws into a more ideal position, usually repositioning the lower jaw more forward as opposed to pushing the upper teeth back. The removable acrylic appliances allow us to widen and lower the palate at the same time. The slower expansion limits the amount of relapse seen in fast expansion using a fixed appliance that splits the suture line versus stretching it. This technique allows the bone to fill in in its new wider and lower position.
The more forward jaw position protects a person's airway, which helps with allergies and nasal versus mouth breathing; thus, lowering the likelihood of sleep apnea and jaw (TMJ) issues as a person ages. The stronger chin also helps with facial appearance and limit some of the creases in your face as you age. The stronger chin is far more pleasing than a small set back chin. The stronger chin also makes the nose and forehead appear smaller and more proportional.
Optimal Orthotropic results are obtained when children have a majority of baby teeth, although treatment is possible at any age. The younger the age, the quicker and easier it is to grow and reposition your jaw to a more ideal, forward position. The dentist uses a child's natural growth, where an adult's jaw and teeth will move more slowly as their bodies aren't growing at a rapid rate.
Correct facial posture should include: the tongue resting against the palate about two millimeters behind your two front teeth flat on your palate, lips should be lightly touching with your teeth slightly apart or very lightly touching. We are committed to guiding the growth of the jaws horizontally while the patient is young, by means of appliances.
We also have many of our patients go through training of the tongue, lips, and cheeks by our Orofacial Myofunctional Therapist combined with exercises at home. If your tongue is pressing against your teeth it can cause any combination of: teeth that flair out, roots to be shortened as a result of constant pressure, and/or an open bite. An open bite is when the top and bottom teeth do not touch. As a result your tongue placement needs to be correct in order for your teeth to remain in their ideal placement.
Mouth breathing can compound many problems as well. The more you breathe through your mouth the more stuffy your nose becomes. Typically the mouth breathers have a low tongue rest position and their top arch doesn't develop as well. Many of our staff and their families have been trained in the Buteyko Breathing Method by Patrick McKeown to help clear our noses and promote nasal breathing.
By combining several methodologies, we have been able to guide the width of ones palate to be wide enough for their tongue to sit flat in the roof of their mouth, which allows for closed lips and promotes nasal breathing. All of this combines to improve facial shape as a child grows and develops. We have found that combining a variety of treatments specific to each patient helps improve their overall health.
Orthotropics is a registered trademark of the North American Association of Facial Orthotropics. The NAAFO promotes Facial Growth Guidance, as a natural way to gain straight teeth, symmetrical face, and an ideal airway.
- Orthodontist Bill Hang explains how and why he moved from traditional treatment to Biobloc
- Traditional Orthodontics vs Biobloc Orthotropics - You Decide
- A Father's Perspective on Biobloc Orthotropics
- Achieving Facial Balance with Biobloc Orthotropics
Appliance photos courtesy of Dr. Brian Hockel, DDS