What is Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy?
Myology means the study of "muscle". Oral myology deals with the movements and functions of all the mouth muscles during rest, chewing, swallowing, and breathing.
Having the muscles functioning correctly is important, though we are never taught it. Many activities "teach" the muscles from birth on, and often the wrong habits are established. Then, the muscles influence the growth of the face, jaws, and teeth improperly, resulting in a number of early warning signs.
Myofunctional Therapy is the re-patterning of the tongue, lips, jaw and facial muscles through a series of specialized exercises and behavior modification techniques. Dr. Wells is a certified Specialist in Orofacial Myology and is passionate about helping patients experience health and wellness at their full genetic potential.
What are Orofacial
Myofunctional Disorders (OMD's)?
- Forward head and slouched posture
- Long face
- Mouth/lips open resting posture, mouth breathing
- Tongue thrusting in speaking/swallowing
- Thumb/finger sucking, tongue, lip sucking
- Nail biting or lip licking
- Restricted frenums (Tongue tie)
Consequences of OMD's:
- Affects the long-term stability of orthodontic treatment
- Could lead to orthodontic relapse/crooked teeth
- Facial growth and development
- May affect breastfeeding
- Development of a forward head posture
- Grinding or clenching of the teeth
- Temporomandibular joint dysfunctions
- Frequent headaches and migraines
- Related to Sleep Breathing Disorders (SBD)
- Gum disease
- Middle ear drainage issues
- Impacts the work of professions in orofacial area
Who Does Myofunctional Therapy Help?
- Those undergoing TMD treatments
- Those undergoing any type of orthodontic treatment
- Those experiencing orthodontic relapse
- Mouth breathers
- Those who clench and grind
- Those who have had nasal surgery or tonsillectomy
- Those with facial asymmetry
- Tongue thrusters
- Those with a tongue tie/tongue restrictions
- Those with bad oral habits such as nail biting, tongue or thumb sucking
- Those who used a sippy cup, pacifier, or bottle for too long
- Those with allergies, enlarged tonsils, adenoids, or turbinates
- Those with ADD/ADHD
- Those with sleep breathing disorders
- Pre- and Post-op frenectomy’s (tongue ties/tethers)
- Post-op Orthognathic surgery
Lip + Tongue Tie
Tethered oral tissues (TOTS) is a term meaning either a condition where the normal range of motion of the tongue and/or lip(s) is restricted due to being too highly attached to the floor of the mouth or the face. Simply said, a tie cannot go away on its own and a child cannot “grow out of a tie”. However, the symptoms and compensations caused by a tongue tie can change at different points in our lives.
Most tongue ties (even a “minor/mild” one) prevent normal development of the palate, facial structures, nasal cavity and the airway. The consequences of these growth and development changes can be far reaching.
A frenectomy is an outpatient procedure performed by a highly trained specialist with local anesthesia only. A laser, or other method, is used to reduce the tension preventing the tongue tie from moving freely.
Some common areas affected by lip/tongue ties are:
- Muscle tension, spinal alignment and posture
- Jaw joints (TMJ)
- Head, ear, nose, and throat
- Teeth, bite, and oral hygiene
- Facial appearance
Our Patients Say
Just like any part of the body, the jaw and facial muscles need the right kind of exercise for overall health and well-being. The Myo Munchee is designed to exercise and strengthen poor facial muscle tone that can contribute to a number of ongoing health problems. With just ten minutes of daily chewing exercise, the Munchee helps children train the reflexes and muscles of chewing, lip closure and swallowing. Dr. Kelly is a certified Myo Munchee provider.
Benefits of using the Myo Munchee:
- Helps Develop Better Faces for Children
- Nose Breathing Means Better Health
- Offers Solution for Snoring
- Reduces Teeth Clenching and Grinding
- Reduces Headaches
- Limits Ear Infections
- Assists in Tooth Positioning
- Promotes Healthy Gum Tissue
The Myobrace® System utilizes a series of both removable oral appliances, called “Trainers”, and Myofunctional Training Exercises to help your child grow, breathe and sleep better by dealing with the underlying issues that can cause “crooked teeth” and “narrow palates” in the first place. Studies indicate that a child’s facial and dental development can be significantly impacted by the use of airway centered orthodontic treatments. These treatments, when combined with myofunctional training, work to establish proper nasal breathing, proper lip seal, proper tongue position and correct swallowing patterns, resulting in not only a beautiful smile but also a healthy body. The Functional Therapy Centre is a certified Myobrace facility.
The position and shape of the teeth and jaws has also been connected to sleep disorders such as snoring and sleep apnea, conditions which affect millions of people of all ages. Receiving early treatment, between the ages of 3-10 years, when a child’s face and airway is at the height of its development, offers the best results and lifelong benefits to both dental and overall health. The earlier treatment starts, the less costly and more conservative overall treatment can be. In fact, most kids that start treatment early, DO NOT NEED “BRACES.”
Cranial Dental Integration
Cranial dental therapy is a team approach that includes two primary specialists: a specially trained chiropractor and dentist. Together, they cross diagnose and treat TMJ and sleep apnea related problems in a step-by-step process that maximizes the speed to alleviating pain and discomfort. Because both specialists work together, in person, communication is drastically improved resulting in a much faster outcome.
Dr. Kelly also performs the myofunctional examination of our orthodontic patients as part of our program. You may undergo myofunctional therapy here even if you don’t do your orthodontics with us.