Your tongue is one of the most powerful muscles in your body. It can impact many things in your biology from chewing and swallowing to your bone structure, airway, and your face shape. When your tongue rests in an abnormal position it can lead to disorders like narrow airway, under-developed cheekbones, or even sleep apnea. The good news is that you can correct your tongue posture and lessen these symptoms through Myofunctional Therapy.
What is Myofunctional Therapy
Myofunctional Therapy is a training and exercise program designed to strengthen and improve the function of facial muscles. Myo programs aim to help patients strengthen the tongue and orofacial muscles by teaching patients how to control and engage the muscles to the appropriate positions.
A good Myofunctional Therapy program will first assess what orofacial myofunctional disorders a patient has and then create a plan to address those issues. The Myofunctional therapist will help you to increase awareness and retrain your muscles to create the ideal conditions for breathing and swallowing, among other things. Adherence to the program and consistent practice will help you to lessen or, in some cases, alleviate symptoms of orofacial myofunctional disorders.
What issues can Myofunctional Therapy help with?
Myo Therapy can help with many orofacial disorders. The correct tongue and lip posture can contribute to a wide array of problems. These problems typically appear in early childhood and progress through adolescence into adulthood. Therapy can be introduced at any age, however, and can be effective throughout a patient’s life. Some issues therapy can help with are below
- Mouth Breathing
- Stomach Pain caused by trapped air
- Facial Pain
- Speech Issues
- Sleep Apnea
- Misaligned Teeth
What are the Goals of Myofunctional Therapy?
Myofunctional Therapists have four main goals when working with patients which are described below.
- Breathe through the Nose Day and Night
- Nose breathing has a world of benefits for every individual. From a systematic perspective, nose breathing helps to filter out allergens and dust, humidify the air you intake, and increase oxygenation of the blood. From a dental perspective, nasal breathing helps to stop your mouth from drying out, reducing the risk of bacterial growth which can cause cavities. Additionally, nasal breathing can help a developing body reduce elongation of the skeletal muscles in the face and jaw.
- Resting the Tongue at the Roof of Your mouth
- Proper function of the tongue includes a resting position with the tip, middle, and back of your tongue lightly pressing against the roof of your mouth. This position helps ensure that a vacuum is formed through the airway, making it easier to uptake oxygen into the body. Additionally, keeping the tongue from laying flat or thrusting against the front of your mouth prevents flared smiles and malocclusion in the bite. This helps save your smile and prevents future work from being needed.
- Teeth Lightly Apart
- This goes hand in hand with the above mentioned goals. When you achieve a resting jaw position with your teeth lightly apart you are training your body to actively resist clenching or grinding. Clenching and grinding actively wears your teeth down and puts unneeded stress on the muscles in the face and jaw.
- Keeping Lips Sealed when Resting
- Keeping your lips sealed is an important and necessary step to ensuring that nasal breathing becomes a habit. If muscle development is lacking here, patients may notice a gummy smile or a resting display of upper teeth. Proper development and training of the muscles can eliminate these issues and help protect the mouth from bacteria and cavity formation.
- Breathe through the Nose Day and Night
What is the process that Myofunctional Therapists take to help?
- Therapists will work with the patients to first create awareness of the issues that are taking place and the effects to the body. The therapist will then suggest and train the patient on corrective exercises to help achieve the four goals of myo therapy as mentioned above. The next step is to work with the patient on tracking progress and development of form and function of the orofacial muscles. Lastly, the therapist will help the patient create a routine that will “stick” and help to ensure that the positive results of the therapy don’t erode from lack of practice.
How Can I Get Started to Learn More?
If you are concerned that you may be experiencing some of the issues listed above in relation to your dental health, give us a call to schedule an evaluation. Additionally you may book a Comprehensive Exam with the doctor at this link.
Pure Holistic Dental works with many myofunctional therapy providers in the Houston area to help diagnose and correct dental issues stemming from orofacial myofunctional disorders. Pure Holistic Dental does not provide therapy services directly.
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