What Is It?
Myofunctional therapy is a planned treatment to correct the improper function of the tongue and other orofacial muscles. It involves a strategic program geared towards strengthening the tongue and other facial muscles, by teaching individuals how to engage the various muscles to the appropriate position. Myofunctional therapy may also require a surgical component, depending on the severity of the individual. Proper diagnosis and treatment result in an effective oral posture to improve the overall breathing, well being, and quality of the individual.
Myofunctional therapy is an effective treatment option for both children and adults. Recent research has shown that myofunctional therapy may also reduce the symptoms of sleep disordered breathing, such as snoring, and obstructive sleep apnea. The purpose of myofunctional therapy is to retrain the orofacial muscles and to obtain an optimal resting posture of the tongue, lips and jaw. The approach to myofunctional therapy emphasizes training of the correct postures of the tongue and lips, with the ultimate goal of proper nasal breathing.
When breathing through the nose, the body’s main function is to inhale the oxygen, filter the air, warm it, and moisturize it. In this manner, the body is able to gain access to more usable oxygen, which can have a huge impact on the growth and development of the face and airway. This being said, without doubt, myofuctional therapy is an efficient treatment option for patients of all ages. Any individual experiencing Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders, is capable of achieving success by coming in for a personal consultation and, once diagnosed, getting treatment.
Once an individual is diagnosed, myofunctional therapy exercises are given before and after the surgery, which have a huge impact on the success of the procedure. These exercises are designed to help in strengthening and providing optimal motion function of the jaw, cheeks, lip and tongue. People having trouble speaking clearly, having swallowing problems, or having muscle weakness of the mouth are sure to benefit greatly from these highly effective exercises.
What are Orofacial Myfunctional Disorders?
An Orofacial Myofunctional Disorder (OMD) is the disorder of the muscles and functions of the face and mouth. An OMD is when the jaw, lip or tongue are not in a normal position during rest, swallowing or speech. Such disorders may affect an individuals facial skeletal growth and development, chewing, drinking and swallowing functions, occlusion, speech pronunciation, temporomandibular joint function, and/or any other issues caused by upper airway obstruction.
The benefits of getting Myofunctional Therapy include, but are not limited to:
- Balanced and healthier moods
- Effective nasal breathing
- Ability to move oral muscles in proper manner
- Clearer and more alert thinking
- Higher energy levels
- Better facial symmetry
- Clearer speech and pronunciation
- Potential end to snoring and obstructive sleep apnea
- Correct use of tongue, lip and cheek muscles in chewing, drinking and swallowing functions
Individuals that are predominant mouth-breathers or insufficient nasal-breathers often become adept to habits and patterns of orofacial function that may impact various conditions that include, but are not limited to:
- Facial skeletal growth
- Nasal obstruction
- Sleep disorders in breathing such as snoring and sleep apnea
- Oral hygiene and dental problems
- Teeth grinding
- Chronic fatigue and lower energy level
- Temporomandibular joint dysfunction
- Speech and pronunciation problems
- Neck and shoulder tension
Poor oral habits that restrict proper growth and development include, but are not limited to:
- bottle feeding and/or pacifier
- tongue thrusting
- grinding and/or clenching
- nail biting
- poor and/or abnormal posture
- thumb sucking
- picky and/or messy eating
- lip biting
- choking and/or gagging
- hair chewing
- pencil and/or other object chewing