Myofunctional therapy helps to improve one’s breathing, bite, and facial posture.
If you are like most people, you probably do not think about your breathing unless something goes wrong. However, if you have airway concerns, whether they are from a birth defect or an injury, it is important to seek help. One treatment option that may be recommended is myofunctional therapy. Myofunctional therapy is a type of oral motor therapy that helps to improve the function of the muscles around the mouth and throat. But does myofunctional therapy work? Read on to find out…
What is myofunctional therapy?
Myofunctional therapy is a form of treatment that involves the use of exercises in order to address a range of health concerns associated with airway issues. The therapy is all about the facial muscles and the way that they work together for optimal function — the cheeks, lips and tongue are all involved in this form of treatment.
During myofunctional therapy, the soft tissues and muscles of the mouth, as well as the face and neck are all targeted in order to achieve a better tongue position and oral posture when at rest. The treatment is often recommended for individuals who struggle with orofacial myofunctional disorders, a group of concerns that can affect both adults and children.
What are orofacial myofunctional disorders?
Orofacial myofunctional disorders usually occur when one’s tongue position or an abnormality of the lips or jaw has a detrimental impact on the development and/or function of one’s orofacial structures. When the function or development is interfered with, one may struggle with actions like speech, chewing, swallowing and, in the case of infants, breastfeeding.
Orofacial myofunctional disorders can be caused by a number of factors. These include upper airway obstruction, in which one’s nasal breathing is interrupted or obstructed and mouth breathing gradually changes the proper position of the tongue, jaw and lips; and thumb-sucking or pacifier use for an extended period, which exerts pressure on the teeth and can lead to misalignment, as well as a change in the tongue’s position.
Are there warning signs?
You may be unaware that you or your child has an orofacial myofunctional disorder, but there are a number of symptoms you can look out for that could indicate that myofunctional therapy could be beneficial. Some possible warning signs include tongue thrusting; teeth grinding; misaligned teeth; difficulties with speech; mouth breathing; and facial pain.
It is advisable that you discuss any of these concerns with your dentist as they will be able to provide you with a proper diagnosis and let you know if myofunctional therapy is right for you.
How does it work?
Myofunctional therapy is performed by a specially trained health practitioner who will be able to guide you through the process and address any questions that you have. Every patient is different, so your treatment plan will be customised to suit your unique needs. The aim of your therapy will be to promote a proper resting position for your tongue and lips; establish healthy nasal breathing; and eliminate any harmful habits like teeth grinding or thumb-sucking.
Over time, harmful patterns will be retrained and you will be given the opportunity to practice functions like swallowing and breathing. As you learn these new patterns, your muscles will strengthen, and any uncomfortable symptoms will gradually resolve.
How can we help?
At Dental Pearls, we offer myofunctional therapy, which is all about the facial muscles including the cheeks, lips and tongue, and how they all work together to function properly. When these elements don’t function as they should, a number of issues can occur, including snoring, grinding and sleep apnoea. Our team works hard to address and treat these functional issues, which helps to restore and improve both oral and overall health.
At Dental Pearls, we provide myofunctional therapy for both children and adults. If you would like to find out more about our services, please have a look here.
If you would like to arrange a consultation, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us here or give us a call on (07) 3210 2144.