What is Orthotropics?

Orthotropics Xray Overlay

Orthotropics is a method for straightening crowded teeth and correcting facial growth patterns. The technique was developed by Dr. John Mew, who lives in England and has been used for many years. The goal of this technique is to move the upper and lower arches forward in children who have many forms of malocclusions.

Why Orthotropics?

Many influences in modern society put kids at risk for poor facial and airway development. Our genes are designed to work well in a primitive environment that requires a lot of chewing hard and non-nutritious food. In today's society, we see a lot more cooked and processed food, more bottle feeding and allergies. These factors, and more, can cause kids to breathe primarily through their mouths. Also, the aforementioned risk factors put kids at risk for having poor tongue posture. Mouth breathing and a low tongue posture are major risk factors for malocclusion. Orthotropics seeks to correct the wayward growth of the face.

Training and Education

I (Dr. Dan Bruce) am a general dentist and also a Diplomate of the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine. I noticed that a number of his sleep apnea patients had similar anatomic problems--Mouth breathing, a retrusive chin, narrow arches and a large overbite. As these are all known risk factors for sleep apnea, I thought it would be better to give kids a larger airway during development than try to manage sleep apnea as an adult. I also noticed some of these problems in my kids. While researching all the ways to fix the problems, I felt Orthotropics was the best way to open my daughters airway. At the time, there were no other dentists or orthodontists offering this service, so I decided to become trained. Dr. Bill Hang, and orthodontist in California, has spent much of his recent practice developed to improving this technique and teaching dentists and orthodontists how to use it. In 2014-2015 I attended Dr. Hang's Orthotropics Mini-Residency. This residency not only provides training in Orthotropics, but also has connected me with a community of orthodontists and dentists committed to airway and facial development.

Parents often ask me what treatment I would provide for my kids–well, in my daughter's case I felt Orthotropics was the best option. Below are 2 cases showing airway size and facial development before and after Orthotropics. The cases were treated by Dr. Michael Cary.