Why Myofunctional Therapy?
Myofunctional Therapy focuses on normalizing improper functions of the orofacial complex (tongue, lips, jaw, soft plate, and pharynx) through strengthening oral muscles. Improper functioning due to an OMD can cause lifelong issues related to feeding, speech, sleep, dental/facial aesthetics, etc. A great analogy for Myofunctional Therapy is it is physical therapy for your face. You wouldn't undergo orthopedic surgery without a before and after plan of care for your leg, so why do it with your mouth. Myofunctional therapy incoporates a team approach usually made of up dentists, orthodontists, ENTs, allergist, etc. to restore correct functioning of all the oral and pharyngeal structures.
Tell me more about Oromyofunctional Disorders (OMDs)
Hanson (1982) defined OMDs as “abnormal resting labial-lingual posture of the orofacial musculature, atypical chewing and swallowing patterns, dental malocclusions, blocked nasal airways, and speech problems.” This commonly manifests as tongue thrust, open mouth posture, lisping, mouth-breathing, teeth grinding, clenching, low tongue rest posture, snoring and other maladaptive orofacial patterns. OMDs are complex in nature and often involve many areas.
OMDs affect all ages and can have a different impact on an individual’s quality of life based on the severity of the disorder and time left untreated.
A few examples of untreated OMDs include:
Prolonged oral habits (thumb sucking, pacifier, etc.)
Frequent Ear Infections
TMJ pain or jaw locking/popping
Mouth always open
Difficulty nasal breathing
Dark circles under eyes
Long facial growth
Relapse of orthodontic treatment