What is Myofunctional Therapy?
Myofunctional Therapy, also known as Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy, is a specialized intervention designed to address Oral Myofunctional Disorders (OMDs).
Therapy involves therapeutic oral and facial muscle exercises that are suited to the individual patient’s needs. The exercises are designed to train (or retrain) the correct resting postures of the tongue and lips, swallowing patterns and proper nasal/diaphragm breathing.
Oral Myofunctional Disorders (OMD) (Children and Adults)
Can be due to improper breathing, breastfeeding, growth of the facial skeleton, swallowing, chewing, jaw and dental occlusion, oral hygiene, stability of orthodontic treatment and temporomandibular joint movement.
Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders include one or a combination of the following:
- habitual anterior placement of the tongue in speaking, swallowing, thrusting
- forward, interdental resting posture and positioning of the tongue
- habitual breathing through the mouth
- an inappropriate mouth-open, lips-open at rest
- forward/anterior resting position of tongue against the maxillary or mandibular incisors
- clenching, grinding of teeth
- habits of sucking the thumb, fingers, lips, tongue
Associated Health Problems of OMDs
Hidden breathing difficulties related to OMDs may contribute to side effects such as:
Anxiety, asthma, allergies, nasal congestion, snoring, and may contribute to sleep apnea.
Addressing these difficulties involves a team approach among the Speech-Language Pathologists, Dentists, Myofunctional Therapists, Craniofacial Therapists, Orthodontists, Ear, Nose, & Throat Specialists, Allergists, Nutritionists.
How Effective is Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy?
Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy has been practiced in numerous countries for more than 30 years. Multiple studies have demonstrated its effectiveness reporting that treatment for Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders can be largely effective in correcting swallowing and resting posture of tongue, jaw and head. Orofacial myofunctional treatment combined with orthodontic treatment can aid correction of dentofacial deformities. The research further indicates that these corrections are retained years after completing therapy.