What you need to know about Myofunctional Therapy

Dr Devine Myofunctional Therapy

what to know about myofunctional therapyServing Brentwood, Belle Meade and Green Hills Areas of Nashville TN

An increasing number of dental practices now offer myofunctional therapy as one of their services. In fact, your family dentists in Nashville at Devine Dentistry added myofunctional therapy. You may have heard this term, but remain unsure about what myofunctional therapy is, or what it can accomplish, but you will know much more about this type of therapy and its applications after you read this article.

What is myofunctional therapy, and what is it used for?

Myofunctional therapy is, in short, a way to re-train the muscles of your orofacial system—defined as including the face, mouth, tongue, and neck. One of the main goals of this type of therapy is to correct what is known as an orofacial myofunctional disorder (or OMD for short). Problems that manifest in relation to an OMD include difficulties breathing, chewing, swallowing, breastfeeding, as well as a speech impediment or hindered speech impediment, or negative oral habits such as thumb sucking and tongue thrust.

The therapy itself consists of a series of exercises. The specific exercises are determined based on your existing needs. These exercises are non-invasive, simple, and usually can be performed with minimal discomfort. They work the muscles of the orofacial system, as well as the tongue, to correct an OMD and any of the negative habits that developed as a consequence. However myofunctional therapy also can be used in the treatment of serious health issues such as temporomandibular joint disorder and obstructive sleep apnea to help retrain the orofacial muscles to rest properly, improving the positioning of the tongue and jaw to open the airway. It also commonly is prescribed after a frenectomy (tongue or lip-tie release), to help achieve normal function after living with a limited range of motion in your tongue or lip due to the tethered oral tissue. 

One of the goals of myofunctional therapy is to achieve what is known as the optimum oral resting posture. This means, when you are not eating or speaking, the natural resting state of your orofacial system has the lips closed, the teeth closed, and the tongue resting comfortably against the upper palate. This oral resting posture lends itself to a variety of health benefits, including breathing through the nose—which is recommended to achieve optimal amount of oxygen throughout the body. 

Should myofunctional therapy occur before or after orthodontic treatment?

This should be determined on a case-by-case basis, with influencing factors including the degree of the crookedness of your teeth, any misalignment of bite, and the presence of any OMDs. Myofunctional therapy can be conducted before, in conjunction with, or after orthodontic treatment. In cases where myofunctional therapy is used in combination with orthodontics, you will enjoy the aesthetics and health benefits of straighter teeth, in addition to having a greater balance throughout your orofacial system. Achieving this balance will help limit the likelihood of orthodontic relapse.

Learn more about myofunctional therapy and its advantages

Dr. Brian Devine and Dr. Russell Mack are proud to offer myofunctional therapy as part of our ever-expanding range of services for patients in the greater Nashville area. If you think you or your child would benefit from myofunctional therapy, schedule a consultation today by calling our office at (615) 269-4209.

Devine Dentistry serves the oral health needs of our patients in the areas of Belle Meade, Green Hills, and Nashville, Tennessee.