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Myofunctional Orthodontics

Myofunctional Orthodontics

Problem Areas

Dental Problems / Incorrect Swallow

When a person swallows incorrectly, the tip and/or sides of the tongue press against or spread between the teeth. This is commonly called a tongue thrust. Constant pressure from resting or incorrectly thrusting the tongue away from the hard palate may push teeth out of place. That pressure may later prevent teeth from erupting (breaking through the gum).

This may lead to an abnormal bite – the improper alignment between the upper and lower teeth known as malocclusion. This problem may lead to difficulties in biting, chewing, swallowing, and digesting of food, and crooked teeth

Speech Problems that may develop from an OMD

A person with abnormal oral muscle patterns may suffer a lisp or have difficulty in articulating sounds. If muscles in the tongue and lips are incorrectly postured, this can prevent a person from forming sounds of normal speech.

Improper oral muscle function may additionally lead to TMJ dysfunction, headaches, stomach distress (from swallowing air), airway obstruction, and other health challenges.

Sleep Disordered Breathing and Sleep Apnea

Recent research has shown that myofunctional therapy may reduce the symptoms of sleep disordered breathing (such as snoring), and ameliorate mild to moderate OSA (obstructive sleep apnea). When functioning and used properly, the muscles of the tongue, throat, and face, can reduce obstruction to the airway.

Tongue Thrust

Enlarged tonsils (shown in white) can block the airway, causing an improper positioning of the tongue. Thumb or finger sucking habits force the tongue into a low position that pushes it against the teeth.

Deal with the problems now to avoid orthodontic treatment later

What Myofunctional Therapy

Myofunctional Therapy involvesa series of strengthening exercises

Myofunctional Therapy eliminates many of the causes of swallowing abnormalities and improper rest posture of the tongue.

myofunctional therapy is painless and the exercises are relatively simple. When certain muscles of the face are activated and functioning properly, other muscles will follow suit until proper coordination of the tongue and facial muscles is attained.

For success in this therapy, consistent exercise every day is necessary until the patient has corrected their improper muscle pattern. It also takes commitment by the patient, family – and time.

Treatment usually consists of a regular program of exercises over a 6 – 12 month period, although treatment length may vary.

Impact

With myofunctional therapy, a patient can regain the joy of eating, speaking, breathing, and even sleeping more soundly. Cosmetic improvements can help restore confidence and self-esteem.