Orofacial Myofunctional therapy
Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy consists of a program of exercises that are simple and non-evasive. It has gained popularity following new research.
Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy involves the identification of myofunctional problems. The most common are:
- Obstructed nasal breathing
- Thumb or finger sucking
- Tongue ties
- Bottle feeding or use of pacifiers
- Improper swallowing
What are the Goals of Orofacial Myofunctional therapy?
- Looking beyond straight teeth
- Promoting nasal breathing
- Trying to have lips together at rest
- Maintaining correct tongue position
- Having no overactivity of the lower lip muscles when swallowing
- A more stable environment for any future orthodontic treatment
- Increase in the chances of avoiding extractions to relieve crowding, but does not rule out braces altogether.
What is involved?
Myofunctional Therapy involves a combination of the following
- Identification of the causes of the poor muscle pattern
- Appropriate referral to an Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) Specialist for evaluation of the airway.
- Working to eliminate habits such as pacifier, thumb or finger sucking
- Orofacial Myology or patterning of the muscles through simple exercises
- Myofunctional training appliances that promote good muscle balance, good lip seal, nasal breathing and correct position of the tongue in the roof of the mouth.
When is the best time to start Myofunctional treatment?
It is often easier to reverse abnormal muscle activity pattern early. Treating children with baby teeth can be relatively quick, simple and non-invasive. The longer the delay in addressing abnormal muscle activity, the more severe the orthodontic problems can become. As a result delaying treatment can lead to a greater the need for corrective treatment involving braces, teeth extractions to relieve crowding and/or jaw surgery.
Thus the best time to start and benefit from myofunctional evaluation and therapy is as soon as possible.