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Ask a Holistic Dentist: What Is Myofunctional Therapy?

Posted by Well Being Dentistry 2023-01-29

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A holistic dentist can treat orofacial myofunctional disorders (OMDs). This is a muscle disorder in the mouth and the face. This can affect chewing, breastfeeding, speaking, swallowing and the appearance of the face. Because of the problems that OMDs can cause, a holistic dentist can use myofunctional therapy to treat them.

What are OMDs?

Usually, a patient will develop an OMD from breathing through the mouth. This breathing pattern can cause the muscles in the area to adapt harmfully. One of the problems with OMD is that it can prevent dental or orthodontic treatment. One example of an OMD is tongue thrusting.

The muscles and nerves in the mouth, face and throat must have a proper relationship to properly swallow. In normal swallowing, the tip of an individual’s tongue will press against the mouth’s roof. This is also known as the hard palate and is located just behind the front teeth. The roof of the mouth will absorb the force of the tongue.

This is an important part of swallowing because an individual swallows about 500 to 1,000 times every day. If the tongue pushes against the teeth instead of the hard palate, it can force the teeth apart. The tongue may also rest naturally on the teeth. The constant pressure is also not good for the teeth. Eventually, this can lead to an open bite, where the upper and lower front teeth slant outward.

How myofunctional therapy works

The concepts behind myofunctional therapy are relatively simple. A holistic dentist will work with a patient to come up with some different exercises to retrain the tongue. The right holistic dentist will have gotten training in speech pathology. The approach for each patient will be different. Factors such as the patient’s oral structure and tongue position will impact treatment.

Generally, however, myofunctional therapy will focus on having a better awareness of the oral muscles. A holistic dentist can help a patient train their tongue to be in a better position. This can prevent the tongue from pushing against the upper teeth. Part of the training will involve corrective exercises while looking at the mouth and face.

Patients who are working with a holistic dentist for myofunctional therapy will focus on swallowing. The right swallowing pattern will use both the facial muscles and the tongue. Eventually, the patient will have better coordination and muscle strength. There are several goals of this therapy, including:

  • Proper digestion
  • Ideal positioning of the teeth
  • Proper pronunciation of words
  • Better resting position of the tongue
  • Visit a holistic dentist today

Your facial muscles are designed to work with the mouth. To facilitate the collaboration of these muscles, a holistic dentist can give myofunctional therapy. This can be used for an adult or a child to help them use their mouth better. This type of therapy can also help you maintain a beautiful smile. Recognizing this issue early can help an individual better retrain these vital mouth and facial muscles.

Request an appointment here: or call Well Being Dentistry at (408) 244-0590 for an appointment in our Santa Clara office.

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