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What is Myofunctional Therapy

Myofunctional Therapy uses a combination of physical therapy exercises to improve your bite, breathing, and facial posture. The exercises we recommend focus on training the face, neck and mouth’s soft tissues to reach optimal tongue posture as well as have proper relaxed posture. 

 

Symptoms of concern

  • Mouth Breathing, Low tongue posture, Lips apart - these are not healthy and not natural and long term will lead to bigger issues, Ie; Snoring, C-pap machine, Jaw discomfort - Correcting these habits allows us to get to the root cause, preventing future health problems for both children and adults.

  • Do you wake up often at night or wake up tired? You are likely mouth breathing.

  • Airway is our main focus, and your tongue is part of the airway. 

  • Tongue Position - We look at placement, tone, and space. When your tongue is in the right position it forces you to breathe through your nose rather than your mouth. 

  • Being Tongue-Tied, which is a physical problem that can be improved with therapy or a tongue-tie release, in some cases. 

  • Tongue Thrust- a swallowing pattern that causes the tongue to push against the teeth when swallowing.

  • Narrow Palate - catching this early in children can help aid in palatal expansion creating more room for the tongue and improve tongue position and airway health.

  • Snoring/ Sleep Apnea

  • Teeth Grinding/ Jaw discomfort

  • Misaligned teeth 

 

Goals of  Myofunctional Therapy

  1. Nasal Breathing: 

    • Proper Breathing - promotes better overall health, digestion, and circulation to the entire body.

    • Nasal breathing filters out disease. 

    • Increase Nitric Oxide levels (NO) - Enzymes in the nose and sinuses produce NO and release it into our bodies when we breathe through our nose. It has anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce inflamed nasal passageways, tonsils and adenoids, as well as aid in oxygen exchange in the lungs.

 

  1. Lip Seal:

    • We want a proper lip seal day and night to promote nasal breathing, good swallowing and provide guidance to teeth and dental arches to prevent other orofacial muscles overcompensating, leading to altering dental and facial development.  

    • Without proper lip seal, teeth and dental arches lack guidance from occlusion, tongue posture and orofacial muscle function. This increases risk of narrow arches, crowded teeth and open bite. 

 

  1. High Tongue Posture:

    • Your tongue supports the palate and floor of the nose which supports sinuses & orbits. 

    • Your tongue should rest in the palate, filling the entire space without spreading over your teeth,  with the tip of the tongue resting on the “spot” right behind your two front teeth. 

    • Proper tongue posture provides guidance and internal support for your maxillary arch development. 

    • When the tongue is up and in the correct position, lips together and muscles relaxed, natural nasal breathing occurs. (Your tongue is like an on/ off switch for nasal breathing) 

  1. Correct Swallowing: 

    • In correct swallowing the tongue is on the roof of the mouth behind the front teeth with lips closed and teeth lightly together. This prevents you from swallowing air, which can cause gas, bloating, and stomach discomfort and increased risk of acid reflux. 

    • Proper swallowing is important because abnormal swallowing (tongue thrust) puts the tongue in an improper position which then causes strain and stress on the teeth, jaw, face, head, and back. 

 

How does therapy work :

Myofunctional Therapy treatment sessions are done with a combination of in office and Zoom appointments. Therapy sessions will be with our hygienist Jackie who has completed advanced training in Myofunctional Therapy as well as Dr. Davies. With the training they have completed, they are able to screen for and discuss orofacial myofunctional disorders with patients and make treatment recommendations. If they feel you would be a good candidate for Myofunctional Therapy they will recommend that you come in for a Comprehensive Evaluation followed up by an individualized 12 session therapy program to retrain your orofacial muscles to improve function. 

Recommendations of books and articles about Myofunctional Therapy

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