Orthotropic Appliance Therapy
Orthotropic appliance therapy is an innovative, holistic, and preventive treatment that guides pediatric facial growth. Using specialized oral appliances with patient compliance, we can prevent the onset or worsening of many problems. These include issues like misaligned teeth, difficulty biting and chewing, improper swallowing, pediatric sleep-disordered breathing, obstructive sleep apnea, speech difficulties, and TMJ disorders.
Appliance therapy achieves these health improvements by:
- Making space for the tongue
- Opening the airway
- Widening the dental arch
- Creating space for permanent teeth
- Ensuring facial harmony
The appliances we use are comfortable, discreet, and nonintrusive. By strengthening your child’s orofacial muscles, promoting ideal tongue and facial postures, and encouraging proper swallowing, these appliances offer benefits that last a lifetime.
The difference between orthotropics and orthodontics:
Orthodontics requires the use of appliances, such as braces, to change your facial structure and teeth alignment through gentle force. At the end of orthodontic treatment, retainers are required for permanent results. Without retainers, teeth will shift as the ligaments that attach teeth to the bone are not as strong as they once were.
Orthotropics, on the other hand, is a preventative treatment. By working with a child’s natural growth, we can influence proper development so orthodontic work later in life is unnecessary. When orthotropic therapy concludes, the patient will have permanently aligned teeth, a well-developed dental arch, and a properly aligned jaw—no retainers necessary.
How it works:
Orthotropic appliance therapy focuses on altering muscle memory to influence growth. To succeed, it requires cooperation from the patient and those around them. This treatment is usually done in phases, each of which takes around 6-12 months.
The first stage uses a removable appliance to widen the dental arch so the face grows to its full potential. The second phase involves the use of another removable appliance to correct the posture of the jawbone. The final phase of the therapy is active retention. In this stage, patients wear an appliance at night and perform therapeutic exercises throughout the day as they retain their results.
The process may be time-consuming, but it preventatively sets up children for a lifetime of healthy breathing, proper swallowing, and the promise of an aligned smile. If you think your child may be a good candidate for orthotropic appliance therapy, reach out to our experts today.
At what age can patients benefit from orthotropic/myofunctional therapy treatment?
Typically, treatment for children begins between ages 6 and 8 while the four permanent front teeth are growing in. But, some children may begin treatment as young as age 5. It is important to remember that by age 4, 60% of an individual’s facial growth is complete; and by age 6, 80% of the facial growth is complete. Because it promotes proper growth and development, orthotropic treatment can be extremely effective when it is begun during a growth stage.
However, older patients can also benefit from orthotropic treatment! Because it affects overall health, patients at nearly every age can enjoy noticeable and effective results. We may prescribe this treatment for older patients who have:
- Eyesight issues (blurred vision, eye strain)
- Hearing issues (decreased hearing ability, ringing, or humming sounds in the ears)
- Orthodontic issues necessitating tooth realignment (including patients whose teeth were extracted during previous orthodontia and/or who wore headgear)
- Pain, including neck and shoulder pain and headaches/migraines
- Sleep issues resulting from snoring and/or sleep apnea
- TMJ disorders
If you or someone you know exhibits signs of orofacial myofunctional disorders, contact us today. At our practice, our dedicated team can help you overcome these issues with holistic, healthful therapies. Book your appointment today and experience the Bowen Legacy Dental difference!