Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy:
- May lessen the severity of sleep breathing disorders (ex: obstructive sleep apnea)
- Promotes proper lip seal
- Facilitates proper nasal breathing
- Promotes a proper swallow
- Facilitates proper chewin
- Aides with forward head posture
- Promotes lingual-palatal resting posture
- May lessen the severity of TMJ problems
- May help with speech problems
- Eliminates noxious oral habits
- Corrects tongue thrust
Proper lip seal and nasal breathing
Proper lip seal and nasal breathing are crucial. Proper nasal breathing helps filter and warm the air coming into your body, allows your body to absorb more oxygen, helps maintain a balanced pH in your body, helps reduce snoring by maintaining a proper airflow, decreases a person’s pulse rate, and helps correct a tongue thrust. When mouth breathing is present dry mouth, periodontal disease, forward head posture, and snoring may occur.
Some Reasons for improper nasal breathing: enlarged tonsils and adenoids, deviated nasal septum, enlarged nasal turbinates, allergies, and restricted labial frenum.
The act of swallowing correctly involves a harmonious balance between the muscles of the face, tongue and throat. During a correct normal swallow, the tip of the tongue rests firmly against the hard palate slightly behind the two upper front teeth. This act allows all other muscles to function accordingly in order to promote proper swallowing. A person swallows up to 2,000 times a day, and if proper swallowing is not achieved problems may arise.
Problems that may occur due to improper swallowing: orthodontic issues (crooked teeth), cosmetic problems, speech problems, bloating or stomach distress after eating, forward head posture, TMJ jaw pain, and headaches.
A tight lingual frenum may restrict the proper function of the tongue causing swallowing problems, speech problems, tongue thrust, orthodontic problems, and it may affect the development of the shape of the palate due to the inability of the tongue touching the roof of the mouth.
While thumb sucking may be soothing to a child, detrimental effects may follow. Sucking can lead to orthodontic dental problems such as malocclusions, cross-bites, open-bites, and overbites. Sucking may shape the palate differently causing a high vaulted palate, which in return can lead to breathing issues by reducing the size of the nasal passages.
For successful therapy, consistent daily exercises are necessary until the patient has successfully corrected their improper muscle pattern. Time and commitment are essential. The treatment usually consists of a 4 to 12 month period exercise program, although the length of treatment may vary.