It's a challenge to look at the whole picture when you are focused on only one thing.
Many people are familiar and comfortable with the term "holistic" as defined as:
PHILOSOPHY : characterized by comprehension of the parts of something as intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole.
MEDICINE: characterized by the treatment of the whole person, taking into account mental and social factors, rather than just the symptoms of a disease.
Many orthodontic providers look at just the teeth.
Some look at the airway and the jaw joints.
Wholistic Orthodontic providers look beyond these limitations and into the effects of orthodontic therapy on the WHOLE person.
The WHOLISTIC perspective is very similar to the HOLISTIC mindset, yet different in the perspective of the way we approach our responsibility to the WHOLE person for the WHOLE lifetime in regard to the development of the smile and face.
The traditional approach to orthodontic care most commonly focuses on individual tooth alignment as the teeth relate to the jaws and to each other. Some orthodontic providers are aware of the importance of early childhood intervention with regard to the function of the tongue and airway in the context of their role in facial growth, but many are unaware of the many aspects of health intimately interconnected with facial growth including:
Wholistic Orthodontic providers have dedicated themselves to a lifetime of learning through post doctoral interdisciplinary education.
Even though some more progressive dental and orthodontic educational institutions are embracing a more Wholistic approach, most programs currently available to educate dentists and orthodontists utilize a more traditional approach to tooth movement that usually involve:
Symmetry and balance are the keys to success for ideal function and perceived beauty..
Imagine if you were driving down the road with a flat tire or without lines drawn on the road to guide your journey. The miracles of neurology provide us our ability to navigate this journey of life but sometimes we lose our way.
Teeth get crooked. Faces get distorted Breathing becomes more difficult. Function becomes impaired.
This can result in diagnoses of ADHD, sleep disordered breathing , anxiety and depression.
Wholistic Orthodontics offers opportunities to provide constant and consistent signalling for a structural and neurological midline for improved function and quality of life.
Tongue function is more important than many people understand as it provides incredible input to our brain and our sense of finding our way through life.
Wholistic orthodontic providers promote and encourage 24/7 consistent and ideal tongue function for a lifetime of benefit through improved speech, breathing, swallowing and brain function.
Wholistic orthodontic providers only recommend the use of dental appliances that :
They say that there is no "I " in TEAM, but if you look closely, there is an "I " in the AIR hole.
I = Integration
Body parts work as a team, and so should the providers that support healthcare.
The ability to breathe freely is influenced by having a mouth big enough, a tongue capable enough and a brain with the ability to support airflow from the nose to the chest.
The trend in airway dentistry is to focus exclusively on supporting dental or surgical interventions with the goal of increasing airway volume, but research is showing that there is much more to understand.
By focusing on integrating the neurology of the reflexive system as well as stimulating the oral and cranial environment with positive signaling feedback, both airway function and quality of sleep are often improved.
Wholistic orthodontics simultaneously focuses on both form and function to increase structural airway volume while concurrently improving neurologic reflexive airway function.
What is a signal?
When a force is placed on an object, it moves.
If no force is placed, it will not move.
If the patient benefits from the consistent, repetitive, gentle and supportive forces of a healthy swallow, and bite, many healthy "green light" signals are sent to support optimal growth, breathing and neurological function.
During facial growth, the tongue is designed to touch the roof of the mouth thousands of times per day sending the signal for the roof of the mouth to grow.
If the cheeks and lips provide more force inward on the face than the tongue pushes outward, dental crowding and airway insufficiency is often a result.
The "red light" forces of improper dental, neurologic and muscular function create abnormalities of ideal craniofacial, airway and neurological development.
The following text are excerpts from a literature reference on signalling:
Igor Adameyko and Kaj Fried
"Recently, a growing amount of data has provided a deeper insight into how various cellular sources are coordinated and integrated during craniofacial development. The cranial nervous system, including the developing anterior neuroectoderm, brain, neurogenic placodes and peripheral nerves has appeared as an essential element in a number of regulatory interactions that result in a fully functional complex craniofacial organ.
Novel data on interactions between neurogenic placode-derived organs and their encasing cartilage or bone has improved the understanding of developmental coordination in a head. These processes are of utmost importance from an evolutionary perspective, since they will ensure the best functional outcome of cranial placode-derived sensory organs. A recently revealed brain-to-face interaction has highlighted a new degree of contribution of nervous system in the creation of the head. A plethora of functions of peripheral nerves in development was recently revealed. These nerves appear to serve as morphogenetic signal-releasing conduits as well as niches for multipotent glial cells that can be transformed into a spectrum of differentiated cell types in developing head
Taken together, it seems that neural components have co-evolved in tight coordination with other tissues and cell types in a head. Such a high degree of reciprocal influence should in principle increase developmental and evolutionary plasticity, and lead to optimal design and functional success.
We anticipate that novel molecular interactions that aim to integrate various cell and tissue types soon will be discovered in craniofacial development. This will undoubtedly improve our fundamental understanding of coordinated growth strategies in this region of the body—an understanding that will benefit and empower the field of craniofacial regeneration.
Wholistic orthodontic techniques take advantage of natural signaling of the swallow and bite while avoiding the use of the often harsh and non-rhythmic forces created by traditional orthodontic palatal expansion devices.
The body responds more favorably to light, rhythmic forces driven by nature than it does to harsh mechanical forces.
These "signals" send to the body and teeth through the gentle motion of the tongue and bite encourage growth that is more natural and organic.
Providers who align themselves with the gentle, sophisticated forces applied to the mouth through Wholistic Orthodontics utilize light wire appliances specifically designed to work smarter instead of harder..
The use of rigid dental appliances that cover the roof of the mouth and restrict natural motions of the tongue and teeth are often utilized by traditional orthodontic providers.
Make sure that the provider that you choose has the training and interests that support your perspective. Most providers have websites that allow you to view their educational efforts and the organizations that they support.
Be sure to ask how the appliances are designed, how they are fabricated and if the provider uses more than one design to treat the needs of their patients
Wholistic Orthodontics promotes the use of a fully customized dental appliance to support the individual needs of the patient. Make sure that your provider has many "tools in their tool box".
Inquire about their training beyond traditional dentistry and orthodontics. In order to understand how the whole body functions, the provider will have taken a significant amount of training to understand whole body function. If their training is limited to just teeth and gums, they are most likely not a Wholistic Orthodontic provider
Facts that you need to know when deciding on a provider:
Be sure to choose the provider with the training and experience that supports your orthodontic treatment decisions.
Wholistic orthodontic providers will only use appliances and forces than mimic the light, rhythmic forces created by nature. If the dentist or orthodontist recommends any of the following appliance designs or recommendations, they are most likely NOT a Wholistic Orthodontic provider:
The majority of facial growth is completed by age 7 and 90% of growth is completed by age 12.
If the provider chooses to wait until the teeth become crooked and the face is almost fully grown before recommending orthodontic care, they are most likely NOT a Wholistic Orthodontic provider.
Many Wholistic Orthodontic providers recommend treatment as early as they signs of problems arise. That can include interventions as early as infancy.
Most Wholistic Orthodontic providers work very closely with members of the interdisciplinary healthcare community including:
The purpose of this website is to educate the public about principles of the Wholistic Orthodontic approach and not intended to function as a provider listing or membership organization.
We encourage the public to seek meaningful education that supports making conscientious healthcare decisions..
Many Wholistic minded orthodontic providers have gravitated towards with ALF Therapy community as the core principles of ALF Therapy are in very much in alignment with the Wholistic Orthodontic philosophy.
Good luck in your journey and decisions!
If you are interested in learning more about ALF Therapy, please use the following link:
We are all given a set of reflexes that are intended to be preservational in nature and are referred to as primitive reflexes. Once the person has achieved feeling safe in their environment and as the primitive reflex matures, these reflexes are converted from preservational to developmental in nature. Trauma can reactivate these reflex patterns and convert a mature reflex back to a preservational one which has the potential to adversely alter normal development.
These traumatic events can be emotional or physical in nature. Inflammation secondary to injury in susceptible individuals can result in Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS) which is characterized by an exaggerated inflammatory response. When inflammation occurs in the brain, the microglial cells are responsible for mobilizing these inflammatory byproducts away from the site of injury. Proper function of the microglial system is dependent on cranial mobility and the efficiency of the suck, swallow, breathe (SSB) reflex to stabilize and mobilize the cranial vault and its contents. Trauma (especially oral trauma) can significantly alter the efficiency of the SSB patterning due to the significance of the impact of the trigeminal system as it affects cranial nerve function.
ALF Therapy and Wholistic Orthodontics are facilitative to the SSB as well as the support of the cranial nerve and neonatal reflex systems. Other dental therapies are often are oppressive as they alter the SSB and induce a traumatic response to the cranial nerve and primitive reflex systems. Any dental appliance that prevents the tongue from supporting an efficient SSB patterning has the potential to negatively affect the patient's function. In addition, any appliance that places enough force on the patient's cranium through the mouth and teeth could create inflammation and activate MCAS has the potential to create inflammation in the cranial vault and create neurological challenges that are not identified as a potential dental causation. Identification of patients that are susceptible to neuroinflammation or that may have been affected by neuroinflammation leading to their current condition is critical to understanding the effects of dental therapies on neurologic function.
A functional SSB is neurologically integrative with intero and exteroceptive experiences. The heartbeat and tongue are the rhythm generating centers that create the resilient rhythmic forces that support neurologic function through cranial motion and vascular circulation. ALF supports these rhythm generating centers through gentle supportive forces that reduce the possibility of neuroinflammation while supporting function and allowing the patient to develop their face, smile and airway through an increase in ideal function and a decrease in the use of forceful and unnatural orthodontic forces that result in inflammation and trauma.