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Myofunctional Therapy to Treat Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Posted by Megan Van Noy on Oct 25 2022, 10:25 AM

Myofunctional therapy is a type of orthodontic treatment that focuses on correcting the muscular function of the orofacial area. This treatment involves the correction of oral habits such as mouth breathing, thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, and misaligned teeth or jaws. Correcting the muscular function of these areas will help correct any associated issues and improve the aesthetics of the patient’s face.

Myofunctional therapy is recommended for children between the ages of 6 and 14 years old who have orthodontic problems such as open bite (where the upper and lower jaw do not touch) or an incorrect swallowing pattern. It can also be conducted on adults who suffer from similar conditions as well as those who snore or have sleep apnea. By altering the muscles of the face, this type of therapy helps patients develop better breathing patterns resulting in improved sleep health without surgery or the use of invasive equipment.

How is Myofunctional Therapy Different From CPAP?

While CPAP masks work well to stop snoring, they do nothing to treat the underlying causes of obstructive sleep apnea. In fact, they can actually cause TMJ disorders like bruxism and sleep apnea; some studies have shown that up to 40 percent of patients who use CPAP machines experience oral dryness and discomfort as a result.

In comparison, myofunctional therapy is ideal for treating and preventing sleep apnea because it doesn’t involve any mouth appliances or treatments at all. Rather, it involves exercises that relax the jaw muscles and promote proper tongue posture – both of which help to prevent airway obstructions when you’re asleep. 

Is Myofunctional Therapy a Good Option to Treat Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

Yes, your oral appliance can be an effective treatment option for mild to moderate sleep apnea. This treatment involves the fabrication of a custom-fitted appliance that can be worn like a retainer during the night to keep the airway open. The device is also helpful for patients who snore or have habitual mouth breathing.

When a patient is diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, it’s important to consult a dentist that specializes in the treatment of sleep disorders and snoring conditions. The same team can also fabricate an oral device for the treatment of TMJ disorders. Devices are custom-made using scans of the patient’s teeth to ensure a perfect fit. Many patients report relief from symptoms within days of using the appliance.

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. 

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