Better Health With Myofunctional Therapy
When you think of dental care, you probably think of common services like routine check-ups, fillings for cavities, or maybe dental implants to replace missing teeth. But did you know there is another category of care that can relieve jaw pain, headaches, sleep apnea, and other orofacial disorders? It’s called myofunctional therapy, and it just might be the perfect solution for the symptoms you’ve been experiencing.
What is myofunctional therapy?
Myofunctional therapy, also called orofacial myofunctional therapy, is a system of treatment that retrains facial, jaw, tongue, and lip muscles to function properly while actively being used and at rest. You can think of it like physical therapy for oral and facial disorders.
Every myofunctional therapy treatment plan is unique to the needs of the patient. You can expect to perform simple exercises that target the muscles in your face, jaw, and mouth that are experiencing limited mobility. If your orofacial myofunctional disorder is caused by treatable issues, such as a malocclusion (bad bite), your dentist may incorporate therapy along with orthodontic care and additional dentistry services.
The goal of myofunctional therapy is to help patients of all ages achieve full mobility of their jaw, full function of their mouth and teeth, and achieve optimal oral health and overall health.
What are the benefits of myofunctional therapy?
It isn’t uncommon for someone with an orofacial impairment to be unaware that the symptoms they experience on a daily basis aren’t normal. Furthermore, an even greater number of people are unaware that the symptoms they do experience can be relieved permanently or controlled so they can lead a healthy, pain-free lifestyle.
Here are just 4 examples of how myofunctional therapy can benefit your entire body.
1. Improve Quality of Sleep
Sleep disordered breathing and sleep apnea can make it physically impossible to achieve proper rest, even if you’re in bed for eight hours every night. Obstructive sleep apnea, the most common type, is especially common and often underdiagnosed.
Using myofunctional therapy to realign the jaw while at rest can immediately improve how well you sleep and stop related symptoms, like snoring. When you begin to get proper sleep, you’re going to see positive impacts everywhere in your life, including your mood, performance at work, and overall energy levels.
2. Relieve Jaw Pain and Headaches
Chronic jaw pain and headaches are classic symptoms of temporomandibular disorders or TMDs. TMJ disorder is the most common TMD and can negatively impact your sleep, mood, chewing ability, and lead to further complications, like bruxism (teeth grinding).
Myofunctional therapy can relieve TMD pain and help patients achieve full jaw mobility without invasive treatment. You may have grown accustomed to your TMJ jaw pain, but you’ll find that once it has vanished you’ll feel happier and be able to enjoy all the foods you once loved.
3. Alleviate Digestive Problems
Myofunctional impairments can make it difficult to thoroughly chew and digest foods, which can cause digestive upset, poor nutrition, and acid reflux to develop. Not only does this make it impossible to really enjoy your meals, but it can also lead to developing a poor appetite and not wanting to eat.
Myofunctional therapy can be used to directly treat the disorder that’s making it hard to eat or it can be used after orthodontic or surgical treatment to help you relearn proper jaw, mouth, and tongue movement while eating. Regaining your ability to thoroughly chew foods and enjoy your meals is undoubtedly beneficial for both your oral health and overall health.
4. Boost Mental Wellness and Confidence
Constantly being uncomfortable or in pain, feeling unable to speak freely because of limited mobility, and experiencing chronic fatigue are definitely going to lower your quality of life and your overall happiness. When you live with an untreated disorder that causes these symptoms, you’re harming not only your oral and physical health, but also your mental health.
Myofunctional therapy may seem simple, but the benefits to your well-being are substantial. A boost to your self-confidence and mental wellness also coincides with a healthier body, higher energy levels, and a lowered risk of disease.
Can myofunctional therapy benefit children?
There isn’t an age restriction for myofunctional therapy. In fact, it can yield incredibly beneficial results for children who are having difficulty controlling their facial and jaw movements. Since myofunctional therapy is noninvasive, gentle, and pain-free, it is especially ideal for children.
Children with a myofunctional impairment may show symptoms like abnormal craniofacial development, malocclussion (bad bite), delayed speech, difficulty eating or nursing, open mouth breathing, bed wetting, and behavioral concerns. Infants born with a lip or tongue tie that needs to be revised can also receive myofunctional therapy to help them regain proper use of their tongue and mouth.
Holistic Dentistry for All Ages at Ada Smile Place
Ada Smile Place believes that oral health, physical health, and mental wellness are all connected. We practice holistic dentistry, an approach that focuses on all facets of the health of our patients. Simply put, we not only want to help you get a beautiful smile, we want to help you achieve better health and vitality overall. Myofunctional therapy is just one way we are able to care for our patients and their families.
If you have questions about myofunctional therapy or you’re interested in treatment, we welcome you to call our Ada, OK, office to chat or schedule a visit. You can also request a visit online. We look forward to seeing you.