Choosing the right time
Traditionally Orthotropic philosophy has aimed to affect growth which requires there to some remaining growth and as such has been restricted to people under the age of 10 years old. However, evidence from accidents of nature such as strokes clearly suggest that it is possible to affect existing development at any age of life. It would seem that the younger you are the easier this is but some clinics are attempting to progressively raise the effective age for this therapy
Choosing the right treatment
Comparing methods can be difficult,always gain at least one 2nd opinion, certainly one from a conventional orthodontist, you would not buy the first car that you saw. Orthodontic and orthotropics treatment is not only expensive, it affects the entire general health of an individual. Undertake some research on the internet (this site will help, but check others), searching for the negative sides as well as just the positives, orthodontic-outrage.com is a interesting if polarized site. Ask to talk to old patients from a clinic, friends who have had treatments or individuals from the online community, especially talking to individuals who had treatment several years before. When visiting an orthodontist ask the following questions.
1/ Will any teeth need to be extracted during or after treatment, including wisdom teeth?
2/ Will the treatment flatten or lengthen the face?
3/ Is there any chance that jaw surgery may be needed now or later?
4/ Will a retainer be necessary to hold the teeth straight afterwards and if so for how long?
Anyone doing good Orthotropic treatment should answer ‘no’ to all these questions but it does depend slightly on your age and the severity of your malocclusion. You must be guided by the confidence of their replies. Pleas note in Orthotorpicsbaby teeth are lost together a little before they would naturally fall out.
Overview of treatment
Orthotropics is not a method of treatment, but a philosophy and any treatment that gains a positive change in the direction of facial growth or increases the horizontal craniofacial dimension is consistent with the philosophy. The Biobloc system is currently the most popular treatment approach.
Traditional Biobloc Orthotropics;
This lasts about four to six months with the aim of; 1) enlarging the upper jaw (sideways and lengthways) to proved space for the tongue to come up out of the airway, so that the oral posture and head and neck posture can normalise, 2) moving the upper jaw forward to provide space for your teeth and tongue, 3) moving the upper and lower front teeth into the correction position, 4) create a space between the upper and lower front teeth (open bite) so modify the swallowing position, 5) Open the nasal airway greatly so that blocked noses never occur.
During this stage there should be a noticeable improvement in the face, especially around the eyes and cheeks, something that is rarely seen using conventional orthodontics, but the teeth positions will look worse. It is referred to as the ugly duckling phase of treatment and his can shock unfamiliar dentists or orthodontist, which is important to remember.
An appliance with extensions that touch the skin is worn all the time, to modify the oral posture and resting muscle tone. When the jaw is held in the desired position the appliance is passive not doing anything. If the jaw drops or is held forward the extensions touch the skin reminding the individual, in what is know as proprioceptive feedback. Small heat sensitive timers can be placed in the appliance that ensure good wear and compliance. This phase last for about 18 months.
Just prior to, or early in the training phase, some baby teeth may be lost to gain a sudden dramatic change in the height of the face. Such events can have a profound effect on posture and generate what is known as a non-surgical alto-rotation of the maxilla.
Depending on the practitioner, this period may extend until 2 years after growth is compete, up to 16 in a girl and 18 in a boy (usually). The training appliance is worn at night only, and orofacial myology exercises are performed during the day, to train the tongue and lips during swallowing. Long-term nightwear of the training brace deeply ingrains the training into the subconscious.
Ideally the individual should align their own teeth, as the other 5,400 species of mammals do without orthodontic assistance. Orthotropics only herds the teeth into the approximate position as teeth that align them selves naturally usually stay in good alignment permanently, where as teeth are forced into alignment need to be held in alignment indefinitely. This is usually true if treatment is started young, individuals are highly motivated or lucky. The limited used of fixed appliances and aligners is acceptable to assist the movement of teeth.