It is not widely known that orthodontists do not know the cause of the problem that they are treating. While 30% of the children in this country are provided with treatment in only 5% of cases, such as trauma, infection or congenital syndromes, can an actual cause of crooked teeth be attributed. For normal healthy children they have no idea.
We feel that there are three main causes of crooked teeth;
1) Over the last few hundred years modern humans have changed from a hard, poor nutrient/calorific diet to a very soft, high nutrition/calorific diet; meaning that our jaw muscles have to make far less effort and are now much weaker. We probably make less than 5% the effort that are ancestors made.
2) A massive rise in allergy’s has lead to periods of nasal obstruction in nearly all infants and young children, who then have to lower their tongue and open their mouths to breathe. Initially this posture is a necessity which then becomes a habit.
3) The change to bottle feeding and early weening with soft food (see BLW- baby lead weening), has impeded the growth of the midface (and palate) and stops the progression from a suckling swallow to an adult swallow (where the tongue is on the roof of he mouth rather than between the teeth). As many as 85% of adults still suck on their teeth when swallowing which pulls them in and they crowd.
The faces of developing children who hang their mouths open and who have weak muscles lengthen (see illistration). If we only have so much face, as it lengthens it will shorten and narrow, this reduced the horizontal dimension and thus reduces the space for the teeth, that are then crowded. A suckling swallow sucks the teeth in further and the narrower the palate (the roof of the mouth) the less space their is for the tongue to rest on it so the more it will go between the teeth in a suckling pattern, creating a vicious cycle. Different people are affected in different ways and familial links are obvious, however less than 5% of our ancestors had poorly aligned teeth where less than 5% of modern humans have well aligned teeth, so there is a strong environmental component.
Treatment for any disease should affect the causes and not the symptoms. Orthotropics aims to improve the muscle tone and change the posture during the treatment phase, with a brace that is uncomfortable if the wearer drops their mouth, worn full time. The tongue space is more than doubled by expansion which allows a conversion to an adult swallowing pattern with Oral Myology training. In anyone who learns these lessons the effect is permanent and dramatic, since they will have changed.
Orthodontics aims to push the teeth into alginment, however we feel that this is treating symptoms. All the other 5,400 speciies of mammal leading normal lives have well aligned teeth from when they are born until they die and never see an orthodontist, as did all our ancestors and all indigenous people today. Teeth that are forced into alignment are as likely to move back once the force is removed since the cause has not been affected, and this is exactly what we see, with near universal levels of relapse or life long retention. Further, orthodontics causes serious damge to the roots and enamel of teeth and nearly always lengthens the face, worsening the underlying problem which thankfully does not often cause obvious facial damage.
Orthotropics treats the causes of crooked teeth, not the symptoms.
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