The Pieces of the Myofunctional Therapy Puzzle
Many concerns are all pieces of a bigger puzzle. When Myofunctional Therapy is applied to address one concern, it will often solve others as well. My therapy works to deal with the patient as a whole and not just finding a band-aid for one symptom or concern. My goal is long term problem solving for every one of my patients.
Simply put, Myofunctional Therapy is Physical Therapy that focuses on the muscles of the mouth, face, and throat.
By strengthening weak muscles, learning proper function and making behavior modifications, improvements can be made to breathing, speaking, chewing and swallowing.
Many problems stem from the tongue. Interestingly enough, it is the only muscle in the body which does not have an origin and an insertion. This “one ended” muscle is allowed to malfunction (without your knowledge, of course) because it doesn’t have the “other end” to keep it in line. This leads to reduced function and imbalance of the oral muscles.
Also, a genetic condition called a "tongue-tie" complicates movement by anchoring the tongue to the floor of the mouth. This results in the inability to breastfeed, breathe, speak and swallow properly.
Myofunctional Therapy can help with all of these issues, ensuring that the tongue remains in the correct resting position, the mouth remains closed, the lips remain sealed for improved nasal breathing and proper swallowing.
Nature intended for us to breathe out of our nose. It’s important to learn how to leave the complications of mouth breathing behind. Myofunctional therapy can help you master this habit so you can breathe properly and more efficiently.
Snoring / Sleep Apnea
Anything that disrupts your sleep can be detrimental to your health. It is also detrimental to your health to disrupt oxygen flow to your brain! Knowing that there are solutions to these problems is the first step. Seeking therapy is the next step!
When your tongue is anchored to the floor of your mouth, you have a restricted range of movement. It can be difficult to nasal breathe, articulate speech, and swallow properly. This therapy teaches you proper tongue position which in turn offers a cascade of benefits.
When the tongue and lips are weak it may be difficult to properly articulate speech. If there is a tongue-tie involved it can be even more challenging. Myofunctional therapy focuses on the muscle function so that your speech therapist can help you with the learning and cognitive areas of speech therapy.
The mouth is pliable and when thumb or finger sucking occurs the shape of the arch is remodeled, creating orthodontic challenges such as an open bite or crossbite. Quitting the habit is the first step, but it is also very important to learn new habits and retrain the tongue. I encourage that parents seek Myofunctional Therapy to stop a child’s habit before the baby teeth start to fall out.
Aerophagia, or air swallowing, causes many digestive disturbances in patients who do it. An improper swallowing pattern, caused by a tongue thrust, causes you to swallow air. This leads to stomachaches and other digestive problems.
Headaches happen for many reasons including jaw pain, posture and sleep disruptions. Myofunctional therapy often helps eliminate headaches stemming from temporomandibular pain, poor sleep and bad posture.
Straightening teeth is a challenge to begin with! If you have a tongue thrust swallowing pattern you might be fighting the orthodontic process every step of the way! Habits such as tongue thrusting, low resting tongue posture, and thumb sucking must be corrected so that orthodontic work can be long-lasting and successful. Learn more about braces and Myofunctional Therapy.
A tongue thrust pushes the tongue forward when swallowing, often pushing the teeth forward and causing the patient to swallow air. Correcting a tongue thrust is important for orthodontic success as well as alleviating digestive issues.
When the tongue is not properly resting in the roof of the mouth, the jaw joint is not supported. When the tongue is low, the condyle shifts forwards often causing jaw pain for patients.