Few weeks ago I was approached by one of my readers that needs some help collecting more stories of people that under went bad orthodontics as a child that caused jaw growth restriction. He is developing a Class Action against orthodontic college and association to ban the practice of cervical headgear or other practices with intention to limit the growth of the jaws.
When the upper jaw fails to grow to its proper size, the tongue runs out of space in the mouth and has no where to go so it gets shoved back down into the throat.
Sleep Apnea is a condition in which the tongue falls down into the throat and momentarily stops your breathing while asleep. Many people that snore could test positive for this condition although they may not be aware, worse sufferer’s of this condition could wake up many times in the night gasping for air.
This is very stressful for the heart and one wakes up tired and restless, suffering from chronic fatigue and issues of staying awake through many events of their day.
Although I got retractive braces when I was 18, that made my condition worse. Some people were taken to orthodontists when they were much younger during critical years of development and were prescribed growth restrictive methods such as cervical headgear with the intention of restricting growth. (for example the upper jaw)
This is a sad treatment, done out of misdiagnosis and misunderstanding of the patient’s condition.
The three children above, just by looking at the profile it is obvious that they do not need headgear to pull their jaws back as the near vertical plane of mandible and weak chin appearance already indicate that their jaws are too far back.
The intent is to restrict growth of the upper jaw so the lower can catch up but the upper is already too far back. The lower jaw needs to be brought forwards, not bring the upper jaw further back.
Not only does it have disastrous effects on facial aesthetics, but…
Where will the tongue go? What will happen to the airway?
Here is my friend, Omar’s story and his call to action.. If this calls to you, please support his endeavor by sharing your story. The more personal stories he has the stronger the case he is able to build. This is for a worthwhile cause for if he is successful, many children will be saved from suffering the awful fate some of us are dealing with from ignorant orthodontic practices. Facial Aesthetics may be argued away as a subjective thing, but the size of airway can be measured and tested which can show devastating effects of these methods. Orthodontists should not have the right to mess with children’s airway.
Class Action Against Orthodontic Colleges & Associations
– Organizing out of Vancouver, BC
Contact: Omar Lalani (email@example.com)
Were you ever given headgear or fixed braces/retainers and told they were designed to restrict to the growth of your upper jaw, so that your lower jaw could catch up to correct an overbite? Do you now have sleep apnea, a compromised airway, a narrow face and/or a flattened facial profile from the side, or constant fatigue and/or chronic neck and back pain? If so, you may want to consider taking part in a law-making campaign to ban these practises as well as a class action lawsuit against orthodontic associations and colleges for knowingly teaching and spreading practices that are harmful to the public without appropriate patient disclosure, when non-harmful alternatives to such practices have been available for decades. Orthodontic colleges teach that restricting the growth of the maxilla (upper jaw) through headgear will allow a child’s mandible (lower jaw) to catch up in order to correct an overbite. Those colleges also teach that fixing the growing jaws of an adolescent with retainers to keep teeth straight, before growth is complete, will not adversely impact a patient’s health. The problem with this is that the position and width of the maxilla and mandible directly impacts the dimensions and shape of the airway; this is a known fact of anatomy. Restricting the growth of part of the upper airway can cause sleep apnea, a disastrous and debilitating, lifelong condition. Orthodontic colleges do not teach future practitioners of this danger, nor of the need to inform potential patients of this, yet professionals who govern the colleges are fully aware of the anatomical relationship between the maxilla and the airway. Since the 1920’s, alternatives to restrictive – also referred to as retractive orthodontics – have been in practice in many parts of the world and have been well documented in orthodontic circles. These practices include the use of functional orthopedic appliances that encourage forward and lateral growth of the upper and lower jaws, and hence do not put restrictive forces on the growth of the upper airway. Despite these technologies being available, many orthodontic colleges continue to teach retractive methods, and many orthodontists today continue to adversely impact the airways of the children they treat, without informing parents and patients of the known risks and the alternatives.
For this campaign and class action to be successful, enough people need to come forward with real stories.
Willful Negligence Towards Patients: The class action lawsuit will contend that orthodontic colleges and associations have been engaged in willful negligence towards patients and society in general. No orthodontic college can deny knowledge of the anatomical relationship between the maxilla and the airway, nor can any college deny that there are consequences to restricting the growth of the airway. No orthodontic college can claim that it trains orthodontists and qualifications them to evaluate impacts to the structure and function of the airway, yet colleges continue to teach techniques that adversely impact the airway. Worse yet, colleges do not teach their students consult respirologists or ear, nose and throat doctors during the course of orthodontic treatment to fully understand the impact of the restrictive forces they are putting on the airway, nor do they teach students to disclose all of this to parents and patients. This willful disregard of anatomical facts, treatment alternatives, expert opinions and patient disclosure is a classic case of willful negligence that is institutionalized.
If you were given headgear and/or fixed retainers, were not informed of potential adverse consequences to your airway and were not informed of non-retractive and non-fixed alternatives, please list your name, your contact information and send your story to strengthen the campaign be a potential claimant in this class action that is currently in the works.
Why the need to make laws that ban orthodontically induced growth restriction?
If you went to a doctor, and he told you that your eleven year old child’s feet are overgrown and needed to be put in metal shoes to restrict their growth, would you consider this doctor to be a fraud? What if that doctor told you that your child’s rib cage was overgrown slightly, and needed to be put in a metal cage to restrict its growth? Worse, what if that doctor told you that he wasn’t an internal organ specialist and nor would he be consulting with a specialist to investigate the impact that the growth restriction would have on the heart, the lungs, the digestive tract, the kidneys and other structures within the rib cage, during the growth restriction period? Even worse, what if that same doctor told you that there was evidence from his peers that the growth restriction was dangerous, put harmful pressures against internal organs and could cause lifelong problems, but that he was ignoring this evidence, telling you the side effects did not really exist? What would your opinion be of that doctor? Would you even call him a doctor?
Do you think that restricting the natural growth of the maxilla is different than restricting the natural growth of any other body part? Just like the rib cage holds vital organs and structures, the maxilla supports the airway, the eyes, various glands, the tongue and other important tissues. When the bones of the maxilla are stunted, do you think the maxillary soft tissues and the tongue still keeps growing? How much space in the airway will the tongue take up when the maxilla is forced to be too small?
Today, we know that a crowded and reduced airway causes obstructive sleep apnea. Just like we can figure out that binding the rib-cage would cause life-long health problems, do we need to continue the practise of binding the maxilla and injure more people before we figure out that this practise needs to stop?
Restrictive Ortho same as Foot Binding Which is Banned: There are many orthodontists today who wouldn’t dare bind the growth of a child’s face. Some have been asking their colleagues to stop doing this for decades. Despite these calls, orthodontists continue to practise growth binding today. Do you think that growth binding needs to be made into a criminal offense so that it is banned, and go the same way that foot binding went in China over a century ago?
If you believe this, present your story here and take part. Speak to your lawmakers and let them know. Once enough stories are assembled, we’ll have a strong enough voice to make a difference.
Why am I doing this: I was put in headgear and fixed retainers during my childhood and teens. My airway grew to ¼ the size it should be and I sleep with a CPAP machine at night so that I can breathe. I am of normal weight and height, and sleep apnea does not run in my family. I know the damage that obstructive sleep apnea can have on a person’s life and I wouldn’t wish this on anybody. How many more children need to have their present and future plagued with fatigue at the hands of an industry that knows better?
I’m presenting My Story below to give you a good idea of what to include in your story when you present it:
From the time I was 11 to 13 years old, I wore headgear. I was told that to correct my overbite, the growth of my maxilla needed to be restricted with headgear to allow my lower jaw to catch up. The orthodontist did not inform me or my parents that my maxilla forms my upper airway and that at my age then my upper airway was still growing. He also did not inform me that restriction of my maxillary growth could also restrict the growth of my airway. When I asked him about side effects, he said there were none other than the lower jaw growing too large, and when I asked him about alternatives, he said there were none. Two years after I wore headgear, I was given a fixed retainer that I wore from the time I was 16 to 17 years old. While the bones in my upper and lower jaw were trying to widen, they could not because of the fixed retainers I was wearing. This prevented my airway from widening. Since my orthodontic work 25 years ago, I have battled constant fatigue. My upper airway today is about 1/4 the size it should be and I sleep with a CPAP machine so that I can breathe at night.
I have undertaken an overnight oximetry test, a polysomnography, have had my airway scoped by an ear, nose and throat doctor, and have also had a mid-facial CT scan and cephalogram. All of these have been documented by medical professionals. I also have a written medical diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea.
Call to Action
If you have faced similar situation and would like to share a quick 1-2 paragraph story you can send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or Omar direct: email@example.com. Omar (and I) will respect your privacy and your information will only be used for submission in the class action registration and proceedings. Alternatively, simply post your story here as a reply.