“Better habits mean better breathing and better breathing means a healthier life!”
What is Myofunctional Therapy
Myofunctional therapy is an emerging field in the oral health community. It focuses on neuromuscular re-education of the oral and facial muscles. Myofunctional therapy is an exercise-based treatment modality similar to what you would find in physical therapy, only based on symptoms and conditions related to the face, mouth and jaw. Some of the signs and symptoms found in people needing myofunctional therapy are the following, but not limited to: Low tongue posture, mouth breathing, movement of teeth after orthodontic treatment, TMJ or neck pain, snoring, grinding or clenching teeth, open bite, and chronic headaches.
The Four Goals of Myofunctional Therapy are:
- Proper Tongue Posture – Your tongue is meant to fill the entire roof of the mouth at rest. This provides proper support and structure for the upper jaw. If your tongue is in the correct position your face will develop properly. The tongue plays an intrachol role in our facial appearance and is the foundation for the following three goals of myofunctional therapy.
- Nasal Breathing – Breathing through our nose all the time. We are meant to breathe through our nose as it filters, warms and moistens the air. Healthy nitric oxide is also released into the body when we breathe through our nose, combating harmful bacteria and viruses.
- Proper Lip Seal – Our lips should naturally rest together all the time while breathing through our nose with our tongues resting on the top of our mouth.
- Correct Swallow – Our tongue is a very strong muscle and if the swallow pattern is incorrect, it can cause a whole host of issues that lead to a lot of myofunctional disorders and discomforts which are described below.
Why Mouth Breathing is so Bad
We are meant to breathe through our nose! It’s good for us on so many levels. Open mouth breathing with a low resting tongue is more than just a bad habit. A low tongue posture can contribute to improper muscle functioning and can lead to airway obstruction. Often mouth breathers experience a wide variety of signs and symptoms from early development to later in life consequences. Adults who mouth breathe are more likely to snore and develop sleep apnea. Mouth breathing in children leads to problems with facial growth and development, and if not addressed when young can cause a range of symptoms that affect all parts of our body, which are listed below. So, this is definitely a habit worth changing.
Symptoms of Mouth Breathing and Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders (OMD’s)
- Chronic fatigue and daytime sleepiness in adults
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or heartburn
- Stomach pain, gas and digestive problems
- Limited tongue movement
- Eating may be messy or difficult
- Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain
- Neck pain
- Dental decay and gum disease
- Snoring, sleep disordered breathing and/or sleep apnea
- Orthodontic relapse
- Parafunctional habits(thumb sucking, nail biting, etc.)
- Narrow long face
- Open mouth posture/difficulty closing lips
- Open bite/tongue thrust
- Bad breath
- Hyperactivity/trouble focusing for children
- Children who experience night terrors
- Bed wetting in older children
How Does Crested Butte Family Dental Treat Myofunctional Disorders
At CBFD, Mandy tailors a 12 session program that fits the needs of your myofunctional needs. Mandy is very passionate about providing comprehensive and individualized care to her patients. She spends time diagnosing and detailing a customized treatment plan that is tailored to each specific person’s disorders. Mandy’s goal is to help strengthen the tongue and orofacial muscles through myofunctional therapy exercises and patterning retraining. This helps resolve issues associated with sleep, breathing, posture, orthodontic relapse, cervical neck tension, jaw pain, among other myofunctional disorders.
We offer many other services that often complement myofunctional therapy, therefore, we are able to do in-office treatment instead of referring out to other specialists. We also have one of the only CT machines on the market that has a specific program for diagnosing airway restrictions. We are able to take before and after images to see the exact progress made through myofunctional therapy. We evaluate and release tight frenulums that are impeding on proper function. We also work with a sleep physician, offer sleep studies if needed and work with several different oral sleep appliances.
Going through our 12 session myofunctional therapy program is life-changing for patients who now sleep, breathe and function at a higher level. If you would like to set up a 30 minute FREE consult with Mandy, contact our office and she would be happy to talk with you about your concerns .