What is Orthotropics ?
Simply put, Orthotropics® is "Facial Growth Guidance."
Many studies have shown that the way the face grows can be affected by postural changes - for example, by holding the mouth open to breathe. So, if the face can change for the worse with improper posture, Orthotropics® is basically changing it for the better with proper posture.
The term "Orthotropics" was first coined by Dr John Mew of London. He had trained as a surgeon but decided to follow his father into orthodontics. He had a great knowledge of how facial bones can grow and how this growth can be modified and improved by good 'Oral Posture'. Through his series of "Biobloc" appliances a long, narrow, flat and unhealthy face can be transformed (given good co-operation) into an attractive and healthy face.
The world's leading trainer in the Biobloc Orthotropics technique is Dr Bill Hang from Los Angeles USA. An orthodontist with over 30 years experience - he was traditionally trained and would routinely order extractions for crowded teeth - until he met John Mew. He had felt it wasn't right to automatically extract healthy teeth but didn't realise the long-term damage it did to the face and very importantly the airway.
There are many reasons for the mouth posture to have been altered from the ideal, and it can often happen very early on in life. Breastfeeding, diet, nutrition, and allergies are all factors that can influence oral posture. Biobloc Orthotropics® seeks to undo the structural damage to the face that may have occurred when the posture was not correct, and then to stabilize the facial growth and tooth positions by working toward a habitually normal oral posture.
Typically, the upper and lower jaws will fail to grow horizontally. They drop down and back. If the lower drops more than the upper, it can look like upper front teeth "stick out." But normally, they are also too far back in the face, and need to be corrected by being brought up and out. The upper jaw also needs widening to form a palatal shape that will accomodate normal tongue posture, i.e. up against the roof of the mouth.
Then the lower jaw is encouraged to grow forward by teaching the child to hold the teeth together, lips together and the tongue to the roof of the mouth. While this is not always easy for the child, it works. The results of Orthotropics® are often to be compared to the alternative of jaw surgery rather than to orthodontic alternatives, which often fix the bite by bringing the upper teeth backward. Orthotropics® tries to avoid pulling teeth backwards and, in doing so, has been shown to increase the airway size and make the face more attractive than conventional orthodontics.
What's a Biobloc?
A Biobloc is a type of appliance that helps one learn to correct mouth posture. To date, it has been the most commonly used appliance in the practice of Orthotropics®, following the philosophy of natural growth guidance.
There are several designs for Biobloc stages, but the key appliance has "guides" to help the lower jaw fit into the right posture. The child's muscles do the work of holding the jaw in position - in contrast to appliances like the Herbst, the Twin Block, the MARA, the Bionator, etc., which all work by putting a reciprocal "pulling back" force (i.e., a headgear effect) on the upper teeth and jaw.
The appliances are not magic, and are only one aspect to successful results with Orthotropics®. Many practitioners have been misled by the apparent simplicity, only to find that much more than a laboratory prescription for this or that appliance design is necessary for success. The skills of a dentist that has been trained in hands-on educational settings, and has committed to this particular type of treatment, are very necessary. Also required is energetic family support for the patient, who cannot do it alone.
For further information see www.orthotropics.com , www.facefocused.com or www.orthotropics-na.org