Orthotropics® | Facial Growth Guidance
Here at our Indianapolis Center for Early Orthodontic Treatment, we practice Orthotropics® or facial growth guidance.
Orthotropics® – an early prevention, non-extraction, no headgears, and non-surgical method of orthodontic treatment. Orthotropics® strives to guide facial growth through correction of oral posture with orthotropic appliances. The goal of Orthotropics® is to create a well-balanced, healthy, beautiful face with all 32 adult teeth present and well aligned, and no retention needed.
Orthotropics®, or correct growth (Ortho – straight or correct, Tropics – growth), is defined as the science of influencing the direction of facial growth. This science aims at correcting improper oral posture which is the main cause of unfavorable facial growth and crooked teeth.
Orthotropics® seeks to create an environment for the tongue that is compatible with proper rest oral posture and to develop both jaws forward. Very few children living in industrialized societies have proper rest oral posture and unfavorable growth has sadly become accepted as a norm.
Children whose faces grow correctly or favorably have straight teeth and are healthy, whereas children with unfavorable facial growth have crooked teeth and a list of health problems. The earlier a child establishes proper oral posture the better the chances for more ideal growth and a more stable result.
Attempting to force the teeth into alignment as Traditional Orthodontics with braces does is ineffective in the long term and potentially damaging.
However attempting to redirect the growth pattern can align the teeth permanently, improves facial appearance, and gains wide-ranging health benefits (especially for sleep apnea).
Traditional Orthodontics focuses on straightening the teeth with braces, extracting some of the adult teeth when not enough space exists to align the rest of the teeth, and then maintaining the result indefinitely with retainers. As many have experienced, if the retainers are not worn teeth will crowd up again.
Orthotropics® uses the teeth as tools in achieving treatment goals. It is not about straight teeth and should not be confused with traditional orthodontic care with braces to achieve straight teeth. A completely separate, second phase of treatment when all the permanent teeth are in the mouth may be needed to idealize tooth alignment.
Given the fact that Orthotropics® seeks to correct the habits, there is a very strong cooperation factor involved vs. traditional orthodontics which today requires very little cooperation on the part of the patient.
The first step in Orthotropics® is to develop or widen the upper jaw to create sufficient space for the tongue to be positioned properly on the roof of the mouth, and to move the upper front teeth to their ideal position in the face (typically 8-10 mm). This is accomplished with a removable appliance worn 24 hours a day typically for 4-6 months, and creates a mild to pronounced discrepancy between the upper and lower front teeth.
As soon as the upper front teeth are in their desired positions, Biobloc or ADAPT-LGR will be used to posture the lower jaw forward into a more ideal position in the face.
These appliances are also removable, fit on the upper jaw, and have small plastic guides extending downward to cause the lower jaw to posture forward at rest.
The child learns to wear Biobloc or ADAPT-LGR 24 hours a day except when eating, brushing the teeth, singing or playing wind instruments, for “special ” occasions or sports when a retainer should be worn.
Adjustments are made every few weeks as treatment progresses. The full correction can often be achieved in 6-8 months, depending on the severity of the problem and the child’s cooperation.
As the improved rest oral posture becomes a habit, the patient can taper back from full time wear to non-school wear, nighttime wear and, ultimately, no wear.
For more information about Orthotropics®, please visit this website.