What is Myofunctional Therapy?

“Myofunctional Therapy” is a big term for a fairly simple, yet precise process of evaluating groups of facial muscles that are underperforming, and then prescribing customized exercises to reverse these trends. Most people are amazed to discover how negative habits in muscles like the tongue and the lips can lead to agonizing problems for people of all ages. Brooke Edgar is here to help.

 
 
 


Our Goals

  • Nasal Breathing: Breathing through the nose is the way we’re meant to breathe! It filters, warms, and adds moisture to the air. Healthy nitric oxide is also released into the body when we breathe through the nose.
  • Proper Lip Seal: Our lips should rest naturally and comfortably together. When your mouth is closed, you sleep better at night and have a lower risk for getting tooth decay and gum disease.
  • Tongue Posture: The tongue is meant to fill up the entire roof of the mouth. When it does, it provides an internal support structure for the upper jaw. If your tongue is in the right place, your teeth will grow in straighter and your face will develop properly. The tongue plays an amazing role in our facial appearance.
  • Swallowing Pattern: If your tongue pushes forward when you swallow, you have a tongue thrust swallowing pattern. This makes you more likely to swallow small amounts or air when you eat and drink, and you may experience digestive issues such as acid reflux, stomach pain, gas, and bloating.

How Myofunctional Therapy Can Help

Myofunctional therapy addresses a number of issues. Programs can be designed to:

REVERSE the habit called “tongue thrust”

RESTORE proper breathing through the nose rather than the mouth

ELIMINATE thumb or finger sucking, lip licking, nail biting and other habits in children

REDUCE teeth grinding and clenching and the resultant pain from TMJ and related conditions

PREVENT a variety of facial growth and development problems

IMPROVE the posture of the head and neck

ENHANCE sleep apnea therapy

FINE-TUNE speech therapy outcomes caused by improper tongue function

STABILIZE orthodontic treatment


Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders (OMDs)

OMDs affect the functions and muscles of the mouth and face. They can cause a variety of problems, either directly or indirectly:

  • problems breastfeeding

  • stunted facial skeletal growth and development

  • disordered chewing and swallowing

  • speech impediments

  • malocclusion

  • temporomandibular joint movement/disorders

  • poor oral hygiene

  • stability of orthodontic treatment

  • facial esthetics

  • and more


Proper Tongue Position (Oral Rest Posture)

  • A low tongue position is either a necessity or a habit.

  • A low tongue position can contribute to improper muscle functioning and can lead to airway obstruction.

  • Any time the nasal breathing is impaired, temporarily or chronically, the jaw drops and the tongue positions itself low and forward to open up the upper airways.

  • A low tongue rest posture habit can be lasting even if the causative factors are corrected ie. Tongue tie has been released or nasal breathing has been established.  Myofunctional therapy can help correct the tongue resting position – creating better habits for better health.

  • Lack of nasal breathing or sleep disordered breathing may lead to the tongue moving or resting forward and pushing against the teeth (static). During the swallow, instead of pushing up to the palate the tongue moves forward or laterally, called anterior, bi-lateral, unilateral or bi-maxillary tongue thrust (dynamic).

  • In children, establishing this good resting tongue posture is critical for good facial growth and airway development. 


Signs of Improper Oral Rest Posture

  • Lips apart at rest

  • Lip strain with flattening or wrinkling of chin when lips are closed

  • Flaccid, rolled-out upper lip

  • Crusty lips

  • Accentuated “cupid’s bow” appearance of upper lip

  • Flattened cheeks

  • One or both jaws recessed from ideal position

  • Nose-lip angle greater than 110 degrees