Orthotropics as seen on Campbell Live
Orthotropics is one of many orthodontic treatment philosophies which has been developed. It was recently highlighted on TV3’s Campbell Live
Orthotropics is an orthodontic treatment philosophy developed by Dr John Mew, a specialist orthodontist in the UK. It recently gained publicity on the TV3 show Campbell Live after Dr Mew came to NZ to give an educational seminar to the NZ Dentists’ Orthodontic Society on his techniques.
The basic premise of Orthotropics is to treat patients while they are growing and developing and try to ensure that the jaws and other facial structures grow to their full potential including being large enough to fit all the teeth in (and therefore minimise the chances of the common problems of crowding and severe crookedness occuring). The actual techniques pioneered by Dr Mew involve using removable plates known as Bioblocks rather than traditional braces or ‘train tracks’. A main feature of the treatment philosophy is that ensuring that the appearance of the face is the most important consideration and having pefectly aligned teeth is secondary to this.
You will notice that the basic philosophies within the Orthotropic approach are not unique to Orthotropics nor new. Dr Tiang’s own philosophy and approach to orthodontics is very similar to Dr Mew’s in that he believes the ideal treatment attempts to create the ideal circumstances for teeth to naturally align themselves without the need for extraction of any healthy teeth – ideally. One thing which needs to be beared in mind is that these techniques can only be employed in growing children (around the age of 6 is best to begin investigating potential orthodontic treatment) and once the bones of the jaws and face are are more or less fully grown it is impossible to provide this more ideal approach to orthdontics and other techniques may need to be used and the ideal result may not be achievable at all. For adults Dr Tiang tries to achieve the best possible result in the circumstances but unfortunately this result is often a compromise from the ideal result which can be achieved with treatment techniques employed at an earlier age.
Many specialist orthodontists in NZ argue that orthotropics and other similar orthodontic techniques do not work or are not based on scientific evidence. No procedure related to the human body is infallible so failures can and will occur but overall there is certainly a growing body of evidence in scientific literature supporting the use of techniques along the lines of orthotropics so we believe that the specialist orthodontist community should and will change their minds soon. In the meantime dentists and orthodontists already employing these techniques successfully will continue to do so to the benefit of their patients as a more conservative treatment option which achieves cosmetically and functionally better results than more traditional techniques used in children who have passed their peak jaw development.