Orthotropics

Orthotropics® is a way of changing dental growth. Each child is unique and their growth spurts will occur at different times. Usually the most ideal time to affect dental growth is around 7 years of age. This is our best window of opportunity to correct the direction, shape and size of the jaws and regain facial harmony.

Dr. John Mew developed Orthotropics® over 50 years ago focusing on facial growth guidance and preservation of airway space in young children, ages 4-12. The philosophy is based on the way a child postures their mouth, which is termed "rest oral posture". The thought is that the posture influences the facial growth pattern in a child. If the growth is not assessed and corrected early, poor oral posture can lead to an unaesthetic profile and possibly a decreased airway. Reductions in an airway can contribute to obstructive sleep apnea which can lead to associated cardiovascular problems such as stroke and heart attack later in life.

Dr. Adair and Dr. Franklin are trained to evaluate children as early as age 2 for habits such as mouth breathing, finger or blanket sucking, tongue thrusts, teeth grinding, and snoring. Any of these habits can result in the upper jaw not growing forward (horizontal growth). While some parents claim their child have “buck teeth”, usually this is an optical illusion and the front teeth are actually too far back in the face. The apparent prominence of the front teeth is a result of the lower jaw also growing down and back (vertical growth). A simple measurement from the tip of the nose to the edge of the upper front teeth can determine the growth pattern and treat problems at an earlier age to prevent them from developing further. Sometimes this approach allow the orthodontist to use natural growth potential to help prevent future orthodontic concerns.

Dr. Adair and Dr. Franklin will often make a referral to an ENT, sleep clinic, pediatric allergist, myofunctional therapist, cranial osteopath, or MD for a comprehensive approach to maximize your child’s health and growth potential.

Orthotropics® goal is to bring the facial profile into better balance and correct the oral posture that caused the face to deviate from its intended growth pattern. It is not a tool to straighten teeth. Once these improvements occur, the teeth can then be straightened with braces if necessary. No other treatment, except jaw surgery, can accomplish what Orthotropics® can for young children.

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