Orthotropics represents a new way of looking at crooked teeth. Instead of seeing them in isolation, they are viewed as part of the head and neck, and in relation to other problems in this system, such as breathing, body posture, jaw joint problems and most ENT.
Orthotropics specializes in treating malocclusion by guiding the growth of the facial bones and correcting the oral environment. This treatment creates more space for the teeth and tongue. We use a variety of different fixed and removable appliances that help with expansion and correct posture. We also use myofunctional activities — exercises that teach correct swallowing and muscle function and help get the face to a symmetrical state.
Missing the bigger picture is a common problem within medicine, and orthodontics is no exception. Orthodontics was developed to make teeth straight. They do make teeth straight, but too many people need braces more than once, and we have finally learned why this is the case. Faces that grow correctly have straight teeth and are healthy, whereas faces that do not have crooked teeth and a list of other health problems. Attempting to force the teeth into alignment is ineffective in the long term and potentially damaging. However, attempting to redirect the growth pattern can align the teeth permanently, gain wide-ranging health benefits, especially for sleep apnea, and improving facial appearance.
Traditionally, an orthodontist uses an expander at the age of 8 and places a Hawley retainer for the patient to wear at night until the child loses the rest of their teeth and starts Phase II treatment. As you can see in the photo, the expander gives a lot more room for the patient to breathe, but as soon as the Hawley retainer is placed in the mouth, the tongue can’t live in the roof of the mouth and the habit of mouth breathing starts all over again. If the tongue was originally living in the roof of the mouth, they would not have needed an expander in the first place. Over time, we most usually see orthodontic relapse because it is common practice that the child stops wearing the retainer. Either they forget one night or it starts to bother them due to the incorrect swallow during the day when they don’t have the retainer in their mouth. Before we know it, the palate starts to move into its narrow shape again. In order for this not to happen, the tongue needs be suctioned to the roof of the mouth 24/7, except while chewing and talking, which is why it is an essential part of our treatment to teach your child the proper use of all facial muscles.
Below is an Upper Biobloc Appliance
There are many different methods of orthotropic treatment. It all depends on the patient’s chief complaint and age. There is not one correct way; it depends on many variables. Here is a video talking more about this:
We can use fixed expanders, removeable expanders, ALF (Advanced Lightwire Functionals), BioBloc and more.
Call for a consultation at 703-237-7622 to determine if you or anyone in your family is a candidate for any of our orthodontic options.