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What is Myofunctional Therapy

August 19th, 2022

Often referred to as Orofacial Myofunctional therapy, myofunctional therapy is a form of treatment used to fortify the muscles of the oral cavity and the neck region, including the tongue. When these muscles are weak, the tongue may rest in a position harmful to the patient’s dental and overall health.

The National Institutes of Health suggests that Myofunctional therapy could also help treat sleep-disordered breathing. Reduced airflow across the upper airways is a symptom of a cluster of sleep problems known collectively as sleep-disordered breathing. Snoring and apnea during sleep are two of the symptoms.

Compared to invasive procedures like CPAP or surgery, Myofunctional therapy treatment is a great alternative.

Here is what you need to know about Myofunctional therapy.

How Does Myofunctional Therapy Work?

Myofunctional therapy involves neuromuscular re-education exercises to restore facial and oral anatomy to normal. These routines instruct your brain, muscles, and nervous system in the art of regaining full mobility. Tongue placement, lip sealing, and nasal breathing are the targets of these exercises.

Your dental expert will perform the Myofunctional treatment. This type of treatment requires additional education from a dentist or specialist.

Myofunctional therapists construct customized strategies to retrain orofacial muscles. Training may include:

  • Retraining your tongue and lips to rest in a more natural posture.
  • Teaching you to breathe through your nose.
  • Helping you break harmful habits like thumb-sucking.

Myofunctional therapists assist you in retraining mouth and face motions. Your therapist may give you home exercises to enhance your swallowing, breathing, and resting patterns. Muscle strength and coordination will increase with practice.

Long-term Myofunctional therapy should help you talk, eat, and sleep better. 

When Do You Need Myofunctional Therapy?

When having Speech Impediments

Myofunctional therapy is a treatment option for people with speech disorders that focuses on improving face and mouth movements to prevent the emergence of malocclusions (such as crowded teeth) and underbites.

When having Inconsistencies in Swallowing or Chewing

After an adult has preventative dental treatment, a diagnosis is made. For example, if you have irregular swallowing or chewing, braces and Invisalign may not work. Such practices hinder orthodontic treatment.

What symptoms does your dentist look for to diagnose? Example: resting tongue posture. Your tongue should rest between your teeth. The tip of your tongue should touch your mouth’s roof when your mouth is closed. Myofunctional therapy may help if you rest your tongue on your gums.

Your tongue’s tip may seem rested, but it’s generally behind your teeth. Your tongue forms a U as it curls downward. Your tongue position is valid if the tip can be swung down (like a hammock). Tongue pressure can displace the teeth.

Impaired swallowing or chewing can cause oral abnormalities. Swallowing should contact the tongue to the palate. As they swallow, many people’s tongues hit their teeth. This isn’t natural and can harm oral tissues and affect mouth hygiene.

Why is Myofunctional Therapy Important?

While frequent Myofunctional therapy is generally acknowledged as necessary, few are aware of its full potential.

Here are a few benefits of having Myofunctional therapy:

It’s a Convenient Treatment

Myofunctional therapy is a non-invasive treatment. You can practice the exercises while waiting to pick up your kids from school, watching TV, or cooking dinner. Repeat yourself. After six months of Myofunctional therapy, most patients observe improvements.

Myofunctional Therapy Improves and Shortens Orthodontic Treatment

Many people who would benefit from having their teeth straightened as adults are reluctant to do so due to the stereotypes they believe to be true about wearing braces. Getting braces for less time or not at all is now an option, thanks to Myofunctional therapy.

Myofunctional treatment helps strengthen the jaw, cheek muscles, and tongue. This can help your mouth accommodate removable orthodontic treatment, including Invisalign’s transparent plastic aligners. Maintaining good oral hygiene is less of a chore when you have a detachable appliance.

Helps Relieve Sleep Apnea

To alleviate sleep apnea symptoms, one should seek the care of a trained medical practitioner. Sleep apnea patients who do not receive treatment are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, and depression. Irrefutably, sleep apnea can be helped by Myofunctional treatment.

Myofunctional exercises can help strengthen the muscles of the mouth, tongue, and neck muscles, reducing the risk of soft tissue collapsing during sleep. In addition, the improvement in the strength of these muscles makes it less difficult to sleep with an open airway.

Myofunctional can Help Improve Your Looks

Myofunctional treatment can alter your physical appearance. Constant mouth breathing can cause cosmetic changes, such as a collapse of the dental arches and a lengthening of the face.

Myofunctional treatment targets the source of mouth breathing by recommending a resting position for the mouth that involves keeping the lips closed, the teeth together, and the tongue gently resting against the roof of the mouth. Proper oral rest posture promotes nasal breathing, which, in time, might alter facial features. A patient’s face alterations will be more noticeable if they start Myofunctional therapy while they are younger.

Works for Everyone

Though this treatment is more effective with younger patients, it is nevertheless helpful for adults.

Myofunctional treatment takes advantage of the fact that your cranial bones are some of the most active in the body, given that the human body is constantly evolving and reconstructing itself. This makes them more open to the therapeutic effects of the pressures applied during Myofunctional treatment.

Wrapping Up

Facial, tongue and oral muscular strength can be improved with the help of Myofunctional therapy, an exercise program. Those suffering from sleep apnea, snoring, or any other mouth and throat problems may find it very useful.Some form(s) of muscle-strengthening exercise(s) may be a part of your treatment. A Myofunctional therapist can assist you in designing a therapy plan tailored to your needs. Schedule a consultation with an expert Myofunctional therapist today!

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