Dr Philip Makepeace

123 Bargara Rd, Bundaberg, QLD, 4670

What is Myofunctional Therapy?

Exercised-based treatment to alleviate and treat symptoms which can cause problems such as jaw pain, crooked teeth and sleep apnoea.

“Myofunctional Therapy is neurological re-education exercises to assist the normalization of the developing, or developed, craniofacial structures and function. It is related to the study, research, prevention, evaluation, diagnosis and treatment of functional and structural alterations in the region of the mouth (oro), face (facial) and regions of the neck (oropharyngeal area).”[1]

The goal of Myofunctional Therapy is to teach patients where the tongue should rest, and the mouth to stay closed. This involves assessing:

  • Tonsils and adenoids
  • Where the tongue rests in the mouth
  • Tongue-tie
  • Orthodontic treatment
  • Speech and articulation
  • Jaw pain and dysfunction
  • Head, neck and facial pain
  • Snoring and sleep apnoea
  • Mouth breathing nasal breathing
  • Facial structure
  • Habits such as thumb and finger sucking

In evaluating these, we can determine what the best course of action for you is.

Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders (OMDs)

OMDs are disorders relating to the muscles and functions of the face and mouth. These disorders an affect (directly or indirectly):

  • Facial skeletal growth and development
  • Breastfeeding
  • Speech
  • Chewing
  • Swallowing
  • Occlusion
  • Temporomandibular joint movement
  • Oral hygiene
  • Stability of orthodontic treatment
  • Facial aesthetics

Many of these orofacial myofunctional disorders occur because of insufficient habitual nasal breathing or with mouth breathing. A disordered breathing pattern causes the muscles and the orofacial functions to adapt which leads to many orofacial myofunctional disorders. OMDs can adversely impact treatments by dentists, orthodontist, dentists, dental hygienists, speech pathologists as well as other professionals working in similar fields.

Some of the health problems caused by an OMD

The two main oral health problems caused by an orofacial myofunctional disorder are:

Swallowing

A tongue thrust is when a person swallows incorrectly and the tongue either presses against or spreads between the teeth. Teeth may be pushed out of place if the constant pressure from resting or incorrectly thrusting the tongue away from the hard palate may push teeth out of place.

Abnormal bite

Improper alignment of upper and lower teeth is known as malocclusion, which can lead to problems with biting, swallowing, chewing and digesting food.

OMD can cause speech problems

A person suffering from an OMD can have difficulty in articulating sounds or suffer a lisp. When muscles in the tongue and lips aren’t correctly postured, they can prevent a person from making sounds of normal speech. TMJ dysfunction can also be caused by improper oral muscle function as well as headaches, airway obstruction and stomach distress (from swallowing air).

Myofunctional therapy and sleep disorders

According to research, it is possible for myofunctional therapy to potentially reduce the symptoms of sleeping disorders like sleep apnoea. This is because functioning—and being used properly—the muscles of the tongue, throat and face can reduce obstruction to the airway.

Myofunctional therapy at Distinctive Dental Care

At Distinctive Dental Care we use the Myobrace System® as part of Myofunctional Therapy. The Myobrace System® helps to improve alignment and crooked teeth.

If you would like to know more about Myofunctional Therapy, and how it can help you, or to book an appointment, please contact us today.

[1] https://aomtinfo.org/faq

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