John Mew’s lectures 0 – History of Orthotropics

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My father was an orthodontist practicing in the times of Edward Angle who is considered by many to be the Father of Orthodontics. Although Angle was best known for developing non-extraction orthodontics he also believed in the influence of the soft tissues saying “Orthodontic treatments are very unlikely to succeed, if the functional disorders are still going on”; a philosophy very similar to my own Tropic Premise.

I never met Charles Tweed although I knew many people who had. He was a free thinking student of Edward angles and the two of them often had heated debates, especially over extractions. He refused to accept Angle’s view that if you followed the rules the case would be stable.

So he tried extracting first premolars and at a famous meeting in 1940 showed 100 non-extraction cases using Angles technique methods all of which had relapsed. So he had retreated then with premolar extractions to show successful results. Following this Charles was nick named “Four on the Floor.”

However many of his cases were only just out of retention. This presentation had a huge impact on American and later, world orthodontics. To start with he was thrown out of the Angle Orthodontic society like both my son and I have been, but following that almost all orthodontists adopted his techniques.

What interests me is that in his later life he almost completely reversed his opinions and would only accept patients in the early mixed dentition saying “Knowledge will gradually replace harsh mechanics”, However most of his followers have continued with fixed appliances.

I was fortunate to have been trained by Willy Grossmann who followed Viggo Andresen’s ‘Functional’ treatment. This again relied more on the activity of the Soft Tissues. My first case went well and I was sold.

It was in 1967 that I heard of Rolf Frankel. I went to Germany to see how he influenced the Soft Tissues with his Buccal Shield and Lip bumper. In many ways it was similar to Andresen’s but neither of them encouraged the mouth to close.

In the 1970s I created my own theory which I called the Tropic Premise saying that malocclusion was a Postural Deformity. To restore natural posture, I designed an appliance based on many others but unlike any of them added lingual ‘Locks’ to train children to keep their mouths closed.

This has proved to be the Missing Link and appears to prevent almost all malocclusion.

Please engage with Prof John Mew or Dr Mike Mew on this topic;

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German Government Orthodontic Decision

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Orthodontic treatment measures.pdf

Oral health by jaw orthopedic treatment with fixed appliances.pdf

Why Do Orthodontists Prefer Flat Faces?

Orthodontic Treatment Before and After
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Research suggests that the public prefer forward growing faces with good cheek bones, but surprisingly Orthodontists appear to prefer flatter faces and retruded cheek bones. Peck and Peck (1970) studded the X-rays of good looking film stars and found that “The general public admires a fuller, more protrusive dento-facial pattern than customary standards” (of Orthodontics).

This finding was later supported by others (Tedesco 1983) who found that “Lay judges seem to be more sensitive, than judges with orthodontic training, to dental-facial esthetic impairment”. This is not just a Western concept because Soh (2005) using a sample of Chinese subjects concluded that “Orthodontists considered a flatter male profile to be most attractive, but Oral Surgeons (who aim to improve the face) preferred a fuller normal Chinese profile”.

Why should Orthodontists think so differently from the rest of us? Part of the reason might be that most of them are taught that it is not possible to increase the forward growth of the face by more than 2 millimetres which hardly shows (Looi and Mills 1986). However Zettergren-Wijk et al (2006) found that if children learnt to close their mouths, their face grew forward by about 10mm, but if the mouth was left open, the jaws became flatter and less attractive.

This finding was later supported by Trotman et al in 1997, who also found the reason why Orthodontic X-rays failed to show this”. Other research (Mew 2015) showed that patients who were trained to keep their mouths closed became very much better looking than patients who had not, but this still does not explain why Orthodontists think flat faces look better. I can only assume that they learn to like the flat faces they create.



Orthodontists placed this case 12th most successful out of a series of 32 cases but members of the public placed it last.









This case was considered most successful by both the lay public and the orthodontists.


0.9 The long term consequences of treatment

Long Term Consequences of Orthodontic Treatment, Orthotropics
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see YouTube video here

I have already mentioned some of the consequences of orthodontic treatment such as facial damage and root resorption but there are other longer-term risks such as re-crowding and some such as gum damage which have only recently been recognised. Because patients prefer to avoid extractions Orthodontists currently go to great effort to avoid extracting teeth where possible. Some orthodontists and many general dentists use a screw appliance or an ‘ALF’ to expand the upper jaw to provide enough space for all the teeth. However this does not usually provide room for the wisdoms which they may say are unnecessary.

These are a simple way of avoiding extractions but the teeth usually re-crowd a few years later. This is avoided by many clinicians who give the patient a retaining appliance or attach fixed wires to their teeth either permanently or until they brake or are removed. Other clinicians avoid extractions for a while by pushing the side teeth back to make room for the front teeth but this tends to result in a flat looking face, it is then more likely that the wisdom teeth will become impacted and have to be extracted which can involve complex surgery.

Few if any orthodontists seem to use the Orthotropic method of lengthening the jaw as well as widening it. This makes much more room for the teeth and provided it is done by the age of 8 or 9 should always provide room for the permanent teeth including the wisdoms. This of course also takes the whole upper jaw forward improving the appearance of the cheek bones, sometimes dramatically. See the picture below.

Another long-term problem is gum damage which has more recently become recognised as a matter of concern. As we explained earlier the teeth and their supporting bone are normally supported by the tongue, lips and opposing teeth. But if the teeth are moved and held in a different position for a long time, such as with a retainer, the bone around them remains unstable and tends to resorb. The blood supply to the gums is carried through the bone and if it resorbs the gum often recedes or dies leaving what are called ‘fenestrations’ or holes which can severely shorten the life of the teeth.