Change has been rumbling on the horizon of the orthodontic profession for the last several years. Driven by increased awareness regarding the impact upper airway and neuromuscular dysfunction has on craniofacial growth, there has been a shift in the paradigm, away from mechanical treatments towards biological solutions.
Myofunctional Research Co. (MRC) CEO, Dr Chris Farrell, said the response he received from delegates during his time in the MRC booth at the recent WFO 8th International Congress in London was evidence this change was starting to be embraced.
"The World Federation of Orthodontists' Congress is really the only truly international conference and attracts orthodontists from every region," Dr Farrell said. "It is amazing how the trend in orthodontics has evolved recently and the WFO was a watershed event that reflected this new direction.
"When they visited our booth a decade ago, orthodontists were often unconvinced and didn't understand why they would ever use The Myobrace System™. Back then, the feedback we received was that it was too simple to work and even if you could encourage kids to be compliant, braces worked better.
"Orthodontists are now realising the future potential paediatric or preventive orthodontics offers and I cannot remember when we have had such an interest."
Dr Farrell said the underlying causes of developing orthodontic issues in modern children were now well-documented within the medical profession and there was now an opportunity for contemporary orthodontists to provide solutions to correct these causes.
"There is no longer any dispute that airway and neuromuscular dysfunction are affecting the craniofacial growth causing orthodontic problems in children today," he said.
"Medical experts like neurologist Professor Christian Guilleminault are saying sleep disordered breathing is a growth problem and the medical profession is turning to the orthodontic profession to provide solutions.
"Since 2000, MRC has been heavily invested in educating the orthodontic and medical professions regarding how a child's poor health is reflected in ENT as well as orthodontic problems.
"Mechanically straightening teeth or removing adenoids and tonsils does not solve these underlying causes of these health issues. In fact, Prof. Guilleminault says the elimination of oral breathing at all times is the only valid finishing line when treating paediatric sleep disordered breathing.
"It was exciting to see the changing trend and the response we received during the convention because MRC has treatment solutions for these issues as well as the practice management systems required to make it work.
"The Myobrace Certified Provider program, which was showcased during WFO, is an example of how our systems can work for the practitioner as well as the patient.
In addition to showcasing MRC's myofunctional orthodontic and sleep disorder breathing treatment systems at the 8th International Orthodontic Congress, during the event Dr Emina Cirgic from the University of Gothenburg's Orthodontic Department presented the most recent research regarding The Myobrace System™.
"During the World Federation of Orthodontists' Congress, Dr Cirgic presented the five year research regarding the effectiveness of the Myobrace® by the University of Gothenburg," Dr Farrell said.
"Based on this research, they wish to pursue the possibility of broadening early treatment with the Myobrace into the Swedish nationalised health system."
Additionally, while in the UK, Dr Farrell met with other industry leaders to discuss where the future of the profession is headed.
"I met with Mike and John Mew as well as Bill Clarke and Neville Bass," he said. "We discussed our concerns regarding the long-term liability of extraction and retraction orthodontics with the possibility to contribute to obstructive sleep apnoea in later life.
"OSA and its health implications are causing a financial burden for the British NHS, so it was a topical subject at the WFO in London.
"MRC's appliance and clinical management systems have been developed to assist the orthodontic as well as medical professions to get to the bottom of the complex causes of orthodontic or sleep disorder breathing problems then correct them.
"I have just finished presenting myofunctional courses to orthodontists in Paris, Japan and USA, which were at full capacity showing current interest is accelerating."