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Straightening teeth naturally

Research on identical twins suggests that traditional methods of straightening teeth may not be as effective as some natural methods, according to a new paper. The research project applied different types of treatment to identical twins and found that after orthotropics (growth guidance) the facial appearance improved and the teeth stayed straight for longer. Traditional orthodontic methods appeared to cause some damage to the face and the teeth were more likely to re-crowd afterwards.

The study was conducted on a series of twelve identical twins, ten years after treatment. Facial changes were assessed by a panel of ten lay judges. A comparison was also made of the dental changes and an error study undertaken. Most of the traditionally treated twins were judged to look less attractive after treatment while most treated by orthotropics were judged to have improved. There was little difference in the dental results but the traditionally treated cases seemed to relapse to a greater extent after treatment.

Professor John Mew, director of the London School of Facial Orthotropics explained, 'Orthodontic treatment is usually delayed until after growth has stopped by when it may be too late to avoid extractions and 'train tracks'. This research suggests that extractions may be avoided if the growth of the jaws can be corrected, preferably before the age of eight'. The paper appears in the current issue of World Journal of Orthodontics. (Reference was unavailable at time of press.

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Straightening teeth naturally. Br Dent J 202, 651 (2007).

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