Myofunctional therapy is an area that looks at the influence of dysfunctional breathing and swallowing patterns on the development of crowded teeth and jaw discrepancies.
Orthodontic treatment often focuses on providing health and stability of the teeth when they are in contact. Myofunctional therapy in concerned with orofacial functional patterns when the teeth are apart as they are of approximately 95% of each day and night.
We believe that in order to to provide a complete orthodontic solution, myofunctional factors must be identified and treated. Most myofunctional disorders include a combination of factors that may include but are not limited too:
- An airway restriction from enlarged tonsils or adenoids, allergies or anatomical deviations involving the nasal cavity or pharynx.
- Improper oral habits such as thumb or finger sucking, cheek or nail biting, teeth clenching or grinding.
- Neurological and sensori-neural developmental delays or abnormalities.
- Structural or physiological abnormalities such as short lingual frenum (tongue-tie).
- Hereditary predisposition to any of the above factors.
Why be concerned?
Orofacial myofunctional disorders can negatively impact the growth and development of the teeth. Teeth may fail to erupt and misalignment may occur. Speech may also be affected. The TMJ (temperomandibular, or jaw joint) may become damaged due to ongoing detrimental patterns of use.
We work closely with a trained oral myologist. Treatment of myofunctional habits is focussed on establishing, healthy breathing patterns and swallowing postures, as well as correcting and improving resting tongue and lip position. In some cases the early treatment of myofunctional habits can reduce and eliminate the need for orthodontic treatment in later life as well as bringing about an improvement in health and quality of life.