Answers to Popular Myofunctional Therapy Questions
Myofunctional therapy isn’t new, but it has gained popularity over the last several years. Now that Ada Smile Place provides myofunctional therapy with our own Lindsey Edwards, many patients are curious about this unique form of care and if it could help them relieve their symptoms.
Here’s what you should know if you’re curious about myofunctional therapy.
1. What is the purpose of myofunctional therapy?
Orofacial myofunctional therapy is specifically designed to target tongue and facial muscle dysfunction. It aims to help patients recover from their disorder (and get permanent relief from pain in those experiencing discomfort with their disorder), often as an alternative to more invasive options, such as surgery. It also complements other treatment options, such as mandibular advancement devices for sleep-disordered breathing.
2. Which conditions can orofacial myofunctional therapy treat?
Orofacial myofunctional therapy can treat a wide range of disorders, including:
- Habitual open-mouth breathing
- Sleep-disordered breathing
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Speech disorders
- Abnormal tongue posture
- Habitual tongue thrusting
- Temporomandibular joint disorders
It’s also possible to not have a specific disorder but still benefit from myofunctional therapy, perhaps to boost orthodontic treatment or relieve general jaw pain or tightness. Your dentist can determine if the symptoms you’re experiencing can be relieved with myofunctional therapy.
3. How do I know if I need orofacial myofunctional therapy?
If you’ve been previously diagnosed with one of the above-mentioned issues, chances are high that you can benefit from orofacial myofunctional therapy. However, an in-person evaluation is the best way to know for certain if this therapy is appropriate for your needs because orofacial disorders can be complex.
If you’re curious about myofunctional therapy and would like to be evaluated, Ada Smile Place is a welcoming place to learn more.
4. What is involved in a myofunctional therapy treatment plan?
Every myofunctional therapy plan is unique. Your treatment plan will consist of several exercises specifically chosen to address your needs. You’ll gradually relearn proper tongue and lip resting posture and balanced posture in your jaw.
Once your therapy program has been designed, an orofacial myofunctional therapist will review each exercise, and explain their benefits and how to practice the movement. Although you’ll return to see your orofacial myofunctional therapist on a regular basis, you’ll also practice a series of exercises at home.
Total treatment time can last anywhere from 12 weeks to 12 months, but to maintain permanent relief, you’ll need to continue some exercises. Think of it like braces—after braces straighten your smile, you’ll still need to wear a retainer at night to keep your teeth in their new position.
5. Can anyone benefit from myofunctional therapy?
Yes, people of all ages can benefit from orofacial myofunctional therapy! Age isn’t a factor if you have an issue that can be treated with myofunctional therapy.
Myofunctional therapy is often used to help infants and toddlers recuperate from tongue and lip tie surgery, also known as a frenectomy. On the other end of the age spectrum are seniors, who can utilize myofunctional therapy to help relieve TMJ pain or improve the comfort and function of dentures. But anyone at any age can greatly benefit from myofunctional therapy. Myofunctional therapy provides a low-intervention, low-risk option for many adults seeking treatment for TMJ pain, sleep-disordered breathing, and much more.
6. Can orofacial myofunctional therapy improve dental health?
Orofacial myofunctional therapy can improve dental health in several ways, depending on the condition or disorder being treated.
Improved nasal breathing eliminates dry mouth conditions, reducing excessive plaque build-up. As a result, the risks of tooth decay and gum disease are reduced when coupled with a great preventative dental care program.
Improved bite alignment and jaw posture can relieve teeth grinding and clenching, two common orofacial pain-response behaviors. Getting relief from these problems benefits your teeth by stopping the chips, cracks, sensitivity, and enamel-erosion damage associated with untreated bruxism.
Lastly, orofacial myofunctional therapy can prevent malocclusion issues associated with habits like tongue thrusting or improve the success of necessary orthodontic treatment. Either way, your smile will benefit.
7. What other therapies or treatments might be part of your treatment?
Orofacial myofunctional therapy treatment plans are versatile, and your treatment plan can include other therapies or procedures to help you fully recover and maintain your results long-term. Ada Smile Place welcomes and encourages collaboration with other healthcare providers to ensure you get the most effective and thorough treatment possible.
Book your orofacial myofunctional therapy consultation at Ada Smile Place.
Our family dental care practice not only has the best dentists in Ada, Oklahoma, but we also provide a complete array of dentistry services. Myofunctional therapy is just one of many ways we help people find relief from oral and facial disorders.
Schedule your consultation today by calling our office or requesting a visit online.