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Green and Purple Succulents

  Myofunctional Therapy  

What is Myofunctional Therapy?

Myofunctional Therapy uses a combination of physical therapy exercises to strengthening and re-coordinate of the muscles of the face and jaw, lips, tongue and throat to improve the bite, breathing, speaking, chewing, swallowing and facial postures of people who have orofacial myofunctional disorders (OMDs) in order to relieve a variety of symptoms such as clenching, grinding, jaw pain, headaches, neck pain and airway issues.

What are Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders?

An orofacial myofunctional disorder (OMDs) occurs when the lip, jaw, or tongue position interferes with your face development and function. OMDs can negatively impact breastfeeding, chewing, swallowing, and talking. They also affect your oral hygiene, jaw movement and the way your face looks. Common causes of OMDs include:

  • Upper airway obstruction: When nasal obstruction by enlarged tonsils, a deviated septum, or allergies occurs, your body adapts by mouth-breathing, which can change the natural position of your jaw, tongue, and lips long-term.

  • Chronic thumb-sucking or extended pacifier or bottle use: These habits can put pressure on the teeth, change the tongue's optimal resting posting, and alter swallowing patterns moving teeth out of alignment and causing malocclusion. 

  • Orofacial muscular and structural differences: These differences could include delayed neuromotor development, tongue thrusting and tongue ties.

What are the signs and symptoms of OMDs?

  • Tongue Thrusting

  • Teeth clenching or grinding

  • Speech issues

  • Mouth Breathing

  • Jaw Pain (TMJ/TMD)

  • Headaches

  • Snoring

  • Misaligned teeth

  • Sleep apnea

  • Stomach aches

  • Facial pain

How does Myofunctional Therapy work?

Myofunctional therapy can only be performed by a health care professional who has completed advanced training in OMDs and their treatment.

Your myofunctional therapist will create an individualized program to retrain your orofacial muscles and improve function. Some goals of your training might include normalizing the resting posture for your tongue and lips, establishing nasal breathing patterns, or eliminating harmful habits like thumb-sucking or nail biting

As you retrain these patterns, your myofunctional therapist will help you increase awareness of your mouth and facial muscles. The therapist will most likely give you exercises to complete at home to focus on ideal swallowing, breathing, and resting patterns. Practicing these positions and movements daily will increase your muscle strength and coordination improving your problem and pain.

Myofunctional therapy will improve your OMD symptoms — speaking more clearly, eating more efficiently and sleeping more soundly. You will also notice some cosmetic changes in your face and smile along the way!

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