Orthotropics vs. Orthodontics
Although orthotropics and orthodontics have some of the same goals, they are very different approaches, which you can understand by looking at their names. Orthodontics comes from the Greek words “Ortho,” meaning straight, and “dont,” meaning teeth. It’s an approach to traightening teeth Orthotropics, on the other hand, comes from the word “tropos,” meaning growth. In other words, Orthotropics is the science of correct growth and development.
Because it can straighten teeth, we can describe orthotropics as an orthodontic approach, but only with the understanding that it’s a holistic approach that isn’t focused just on the teeth.
Here are some other significant differences between the approaches.
Growth Treatment Starts Younger
One of the big differences with an orthotropic approach is that orthotropic dentists recommend treatment at a younger age. Orthotropic treatment benefits from starting early, when kids are undergoing major growth and development spurts in their jaw. Treatment typically begins between ages six and nine, depending on your child’s development. The younger the treatment starts, the greater the potential impact. Although it can have some benefits for teens and adults, it is much less effective.
In contrast, orthodontic treatment often begins after children have lost most or all of their baby teeth. This may be age 13 or later.
Focused on Facial Growth
Orthodontic treatment focuses on just one thing: your teeth. The goal is to maneuver teeth into specific positions by applying constant pressure. This pressure causes the bones to reshape around the teeth, allowing them to move.
Orthotropics isn’t focused just on the teeth. Instead, it’s focused on attempting to transform the way the face grows, which includes affecting the development of the bones and all other tissues, including the airway, skin, lips, and more. Although orthotropic appliances may use teeth as anchors to help manipulate other tissues, the goal is never just to move teeth.
Another difference between these treatments is that orthodontics regularly uses tooth extraction to create space, while orthotropics does not.
In orthodontic treatment, tooth extraction is often necessary to make room for teeth. If the jaw doesn’t develop fully, there is no way to make space in the smaller jaw. Extraction is the only reasonable remedy.
In orthotropic treatment, there is rarely a need for extraction. By expanding the jaw, orthotropics helps ensure space for every tooth, so you won’t have to get any removed.