Braces & Myofunctional Therapy

Orthodontists Evaluate More than Just Your Teeth

Did you know that your braces won’t be as effective if mouth breathing isn’t addressed? Mouth breathing, the tongue, and your bite are just a few factors they take into consideration. Mouth breathing can affect the position of your teeth and your bite. When the mouth is open, the lips are weak and there’s no external support for the teeth. The tongue simultaneously pushes forward, progressively moving the teeth over time. This can cause problems with orthodontic treatment. Time spent in braces will be longer and the chance that the results won’t be permanent is far higher.

The tongue can have a profound impact on the development of both the mouth and the teeth. It should rest on the roof of the mouth and provide the internal support system for the upper jaw. When someone tends to breathe through their mouth or has a tongue thrust, the tongue will rest at the bottom of the mouth and the internal support system is nonexistent. Along with the lack of support, if the tongue is resting against the front teeth when we swallow, it pushes forward. This forward motion will then cause the teeth to move. As this swallowing pattern is repeated consistently, the position of the tongue will cause the teeth to grow crooked. They tend to be more widely spaced and angled towards the lips. This creates an open bite which means the top and bottom teeth don’t overlap.

Braces at a Young Age

Once a child is ready to have braces, the dental problems caused by a tongue thrust will be a concern during and after the orthodontic treatment. This is because the muscular issues haven’t actually been addressed. Having a tongue thrust and mouth breathing will make treatment more difficult for the orthodontist, because the spaces are more challenging to close and the teeth become more difficult to align. It can also slow down the process of treatment; meaning, the braces will need to be worn for an extended period of time. Not having eliminated the habit can also make your teeth move again after the braces are removed and can lead to having braces more than one time. Myofunctional therapy is designed to address and correct these issues caused by a tongue thrust and mouth breathing to help ease the orthodontic process.

The Right Time to Start Myofunctional Therapy

Children’s faces, jaws, teeth and bodies grow and change at such incredible rates. This means that myofunctional therapy will have optimal results if done during this growth phase rather than later in life. The ideal time to start a therapy program is before the braces. However, myofunctional therapy can significantly improve the results of orthodontic treatment at any time, even when the braces are on the teeth.

Once the braces have been removed and the teeth have started to shift, it’s still not too late to start myofunctional therapy. Many of the adult patients seek out myofunctional therapy for that reason. They are in need of braces for a second or third time, but their orthodontist says they need to fix their tongue thrust first.


11575 SW Pacific Hwy Ste 135, Tigard, OR 97223

Phone: (503) 367-9440

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