Many of the greatest orthodontists in history were aware that malocclusion is a function of improper mouth function, and that the importance of functional therapy in conjunction with orthodontic treatment was largely underestimated by their orthodontic colleagues, not least because of what for many years was the only orthodontic belief, namely that malocclusion is hereditary.
I quote some “immortal orthodontists”:
“A normal function leads to a normal structure and largely determines its form. Alfred Paul Rogers (1873-1959)
“The influence of the beliefs of the 1930s and 1940s that genetics was dominant and that only minor skeletal changes were possible with functional therapy led to the idea that only the teeth should be treated rather than the whole face. Robert M. Ricketts (1920 – 2003)
“The paucity of our present knowledge of aetiology in orthodontics leads us to look at the relationship between cause and effect from the wrong side – that of effect.” “Where there is a struggle between muscles and bones, the bones always come off worst“. “If we work backwards, we will one day undoubtedly arrive at the beginning. How good it would be to start in the opposite direction“. Thomas M. Graber (1917 -2007)
“There are no genes in the bones. Melvin L. Moss (1923 – 2006)
“The architecture for the design, construction and development of the bones of the skull is found in the muscles, tongue, lips and cheeks.” Donald H. Enlow (1927 – 2014)
“Respiratory function influences the development of the skull, jaw, jawbone and position of the tongue, and therefore the balance of the teeth” William R. Proffit (1936 – 2018)
When we talk about correct function, we are talking about nasal breathing, the position of the tongue at rest on the palate, correct swallowing and the lips at rest.
In both children and adults, we often find that some or all of these functions are not occurring correctly, and this is all the more true the more severe the malocclusion we are dealing with.
We are facing an orthodontic revolution
For many years, dentists and orthodontists have preferred to treat the effect of dysfunction, i.e. the unsightliness caused by crooked teeth, without correcting the causes. And so, with often complex fixed orthodontics and traction with intra- and extra-oral elastics, they achieved the result, but created imbalances in the neuromuscular patterns of the patient, who found himself with teeth that were apparently in order, but did not reflect the way his mouth worked. The result: lifelong blocking of teeth to maintain the situation, with the risk of creating tension in other parts of the body, such as the temporomandibular joints, neck, back, posture, and always with the risk that sooner or later the dysfunction will take over and destroy the result so painstakingly achieved after years of orthodontics. Do any of you have crooked teeth despite having had orthodontic treatment as a child? Perhaps even with the removal of healthy teeth, such as premolars, to make room and allow other teeth to align, and now have a flat profile? There is nothing wrong with that, that was orthodontics until the 1990s.
Today, we know that if we operate in this way, we are not providing the best possible treatment for our patients, especially the GROWING PATIENTS from about 4 to 15 years of age, who are still in time, by intervening on malfunctions, not only to correct malocclusions, but also to allow the jaw to grow.
Good oral function in children/adolescents allows the correct development of the jaw and jawbone. This allows the teeth to erupt naturally, the results are stable over time and there is no need for lifelong orthodontic treatment.
But how do you correct the functions?
This is where Myobrace, the world leader in preformed silicone myofunctional medical devices, comes in. Once a correct orthodontic-myofunctional assessment of the patient has been carried out, the most appropriate treatment protocol with Myobrace appliances can be determined, with the help of Myobrace Activities, a series of myofunctional rehabilitation exercises that start from the restoration of correct breathing and go on to control the posture of the tongue, swallowing, muscle tone of the lips and cheeks, and closed lips at rest. All of this, in addition to resolving the obvious occlusion problems, has an enormous positive effect on the patient’s general state of health. They improve their blood oxygen saturation indices, sleep quality, concentration and sports performance. In fact, neurocognitive deficits are often associated with patients with severe dysfunction, so the sooner action is taken, the better.
I am not only an expert on the subject: since 2015 I have been invited to speak at scientific evenings and conferences on the subject, I have obtained the Myobrace certification and I organise courses with Primalux throughout the country to teach dentists and orthodontists the correct treatment protocol for malocclusions with Myobrace.
If you want to know the first Myobrace activity centre in Italy, click here!