Serving Brentwood, Belle Meade and Green Hills Areas of Nashville TN
Are you living with crowded teeth, crooked teeth, or jaw development problems? You might be wondering what’s causing those issues. They have less to do with your genetics or the size of your teeth and jaws. They have more to do with mouth breathing and poor habits such as reverse swallowing, tongue thrust, and thumb sucking. Physiological dentist in Nashville, Dr. Brian Devine, wants you to learn how these poor myofunctional habits can lead to orthodontic problems. Plus, hang tight until the end of the blog to find out how Dr. Devine can help.
A Hidden Epidemic
Ever heard of an orofacial myofunctional disorder (or OMD for short)? This problem includes mouth breathing, speech impediments, open mouth posture, tongue thrust, and prolonged thumb sucking. Usually, OMDs often develop during childhood, and if not corrected, result in lasting effects throughout adulthood. Many times, temporomandibular joint disorder or sleep apnea can be traced back to an untreated OMD.
It All Links Together
If your tongue and lips have functional issues, this can lead to several consequences, just two of which are crowded teeth and underdeveloped jaws. Crowding in the mouth and jaw growth issues are linked; without getting too technical, OMDs inhibit jaw growth, which results in crooked teeth, an open bite, or protruding upper teeth (overjet). Poor position of the tongue and improper breathing also can fuel more well-known OMDs, such as thumb sucking and tongue thrust.
Chronic mouth breathing can be one of the most damaging myofunctional habits while also being quite common. We all breathe through the mouth from time to time, such as during an illness or due to congestion from allergies. However, frequent mouth breathing produces a negative reaction in the muscles of the jaws and mouth, restricting proper forward growth.
For a child, mouth breathing leads to:
- Narrower dental arches
- An elongated face
- Poorly developed jaws
- Recessed chin
- A greater predisposition to obstructive sleep apnea and/or temporomandibular joint disorder
All of the above issues are related to muscle function. If your orofacial muscles function as they should, your tongue will achieve the correct position—gently resting against the roof of the mouth when at rest. You also can attain the ideal oral posture, with lips and teeth closed when not eating or speaking. Doing this allows your child to reach their full genetic potential.
How Your Dentist Can Help
If you’re living with an OMD, no matter your age, Devine Dentistry can help by prescribing a course of myofunctional therapy. This is a series of simple exercises that work the muscles of the mouth and face, as well as possibly the tongue. You can perform these exercises in a matter of minutes without any discomfort. They help correct the muscular dysfunction causing an OMD.
As for children, Drs. Brian Devine is a trained provider that offers Myobrace®, a method of treatment during which a child wears a series of removable intra-oral appliances to correct negative myofunctional habits and encourage proper eruption of permanent teeth, often eliminating the need for orthodontic treatment. To find out more about myofunctional therapy or Myobrace®, call Devine Dentistry today at (615) 269-4209 to schedule your appointment if you live in the areas of Belle Meade, Green Hills, and Nashville, TN.