What is Orthotropics?
Orthotropics is a non-surgical approach to preventing many childhood dental problems, including overcrowding and misalignment of the teeth and jaws.
This is done through the use of appliances which guide the growth of children’s mouths to naturally expand the upper and lower jaw, providing more room for teeth without extractions and bone expansion surgery and appliances.
The concept was first introduced in the 1950s by Dr. Mike Mew in the UK.
Mew's premise was that guiding the growth of the jaw around a properly placed tongue, the main structural growth influencer in the mouth, meant that the body’s growth energies could be harnessed and focused to grow in ways that resulted in better tooth position and overall mouth function.
How Children’s Mouths Change
There are two things in particular that can happen in a child’s life that will affect the proper growth and development of the jaw.
1) Early and Improper transition from suckling to swallowing -
Babies must develop the ability to control their tongues to stop pushing food out of their mouths. This does not occur until five or six months of age.
If children are started on spoon-feeding too early, babies actually suck the food off the spoon which engages the muscles that control the lips and cheek when they swallow. This doesn't make for a proper transition. Normally, the lip and cheek muscles are not involved in swallowing at all.
Orthotropic practitioners also believe that the liquid texture of baby food encourages babies to suck before they swallow, again, changing how the muscles of the face are supposed to work together.
2) Blockage of the nasal passages - Nearly every child gets a cold or experiences blocked nasal passages at some point in their life. Not only does this mean days of feeling miserable, but also an opportunity to introduce new and improper breathing habits and jaw growth development.