Myofunctional therapy is a series of exercises that can correct improper oral habits that can cause orthodontic problems.
Myofunctional therapy is a type of treatment that helps address the problems associated with the oral and facial muscles. This includes the muscles that control the tongue, lips, cheeks, breathing patterns, and jaw function. It’s done through a series of exercises that teach patients how to improve their habits, posture, teeth positioning, and more. The goal of myofunctional therapy is to improve a patient’s overall oral health and quality of life.
Many patients who undergo this treatment notice improved speech patterns and a reduction in symptoms associated with TMJ disorder. It’s also frequently used by patients with orthodontic concerns such as malocclusion or a bad bite. Studies have shown significant improvement in the appearance of smile aesthetics, including straighter teeth, increased lip support, and improved nasal airway health. Some dentists who specialize in myofunctional therapy also focus on sports-performance mouthguards. These are made specifically to protect athletes from injuries related to their jaws, head, neck, and related conditions.
The cause of myofunctional disorders is unknown, but research suggests that the disorder may be genetic or due to environmental factors. Some also believe that it can be caused by stress-induced trauma to the upper jaw muscles. Since the exact cause of the disorder is not clear, it is difficult to treat the cause and prevent further problems from occurring. This is why dentists focus on treating the symptoms of the disorder and preventing it from worsening.
Some of the most common symptoms associated with myofunctional disorders are mouth breathing, teeth grinding and clenching, protrusion of the lower jaw, and incorrect swallowing. If you notice yourself or your child exhibiting any of these signs, you should visit your dentist to discuss the possibility of having a myofunctional disorder. In many cases, a dentist will have to perform an examination of the patient’s facial muscles and jaw joints to determine the diagnosis.
It is essential to begin treatment as soon as possible to help minimize permanent damage to the teeth and jaw and improve the quality of life for the patient. Treatment may include braces, oral appliances like night guards, and myofunctional therapy. Through myofunctional therapy, patients are taught how to breathe through their nose correctly and how to swallow correctly. This helps improve posture and alleviates pain caused by TMJ.
Other types of treatment that may be used include traditional orthodontics, palate expanders, and speech therapy. Generally, most treatment options should be used in conjunction with each other for optimal results. Talk to your dentist about the treatment options that are right for you.
If you have a misaligned bite, you can experience a number of frustrating symptoms that limit your day-to-day activities. One of the most common is difficulty biting or chewing food. A misaligned jaw can lead to excessive wear on your teeth due to grinding and clenching habits or uneven tooth wear. Your teeth may also develop cracks and chips from an uneven bite. Oral discomfort, such as TMJ disorder, can also be associated with malocclusions.
Another common problem is speech impairment. An open bite may cause sounds to be muffled or prevent the tongue from making contact with the roof of your mouth. Speech impediments can be embarrassing and affect your child’s confidence at school or work. Severe cases of myofunctional disorders can also lead to nasal congestion as well as sleep apnea.
Fortunately, these conditions can be treated using orthodontic treatments along with myofunctional therapy to correct the position of your teeth and jaws.
Myofunctional therapy is performed in two stages, which include an evaluation and treatment session. During the evaluation, your dentist will carefully examine your teeth and look for signs of improper jaw alignment or muscle function. Then, during your follow-up appointment, the soft tissues of your mouth will be manipulated to help correct your bite problem. The muscles of your face and neck will also likely be stretched during this treatment in order to relax the muscles and prevent clenching of the jaw. In some cases, additional appliances may be used to aid in correcting a bite issue. For example, palatal expanders can be used to gently widen the upper palate to treat crossbite issues. Your dentist will walk you through each step of the process before performing any treatments in order to ensure that you are comfortable with the new plan.
NW Myofunctional Therapy is equipped with modern amenities and technologies that enable the best treatment opportunities. To know more, please call us at (503) 367-9440, schedule an appointment online or email us at [email protected] to have a consultation with our team in Portland, OR, and we will be happy to help.