How Myofunctional Therapy Works
Our bodies aren’t carved in stone. They’re living, dynamic structures that can change over time in response to repeated actions and pressures. Just as sitting at a desk in an unhealthy position can lead to problems, repeatedly biting, chewing, swallowing, and even resting in an unhealthy way contributes to poor form and function in your jaw and airway.
Unhealthy habits can include:
- Holding your jaw in a poor position
- Holding your tongue in a poor position
- Thrusting your tongue
- Biting and chewing objects other than foods
- Poor swallowing techniques
Myofunctional therapy helps to encourage healthier methods of performing these everyday activities. There are three parts of myofunctional therapy. First, you will be taught healthier ways to do these activities. You will also be taught exercises to reinforce healthy habits and develop muscles. Periodic use of an oral appliance also helps encourage healthy function of muscles and can be especially useful in reshaping bones.
Most people undergo 6 to 12 months of myofunctional therapy. Sometimes we might recommend a longer course if you’re making progress but haven’t achieved your goals.
What Can It Do for You?
Myofunctional therapy can help with many different problems related to what we call orofacial myofunctional disorders (OMD). Some problems you might notice include:
- Sleep apnea
- Teeth grinding at night (bruxism)
- Difficulty biting or chewing
- Unclear speech
- Symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ)
- Crooked teeth, including relapse after braces
- Lips that don’t close over teeth
- Mouth breathing
- Unattractive profile
Myofunctional therapy is more than just a mouth guard you wear at night for your teeth, it strengthens and retrains your muscles. For example, it helps with snoring and sleep apnea partly by giving more tone to muscles in the airway, which helps keep them from collapsing.
However, myofunctional therapy (like the DNA appliance) also works by reshaping your bones. Muscles and bones have a dynamic relationship. As they work together, the muscles help shape the bones. Teaching your muscles healthy habits can lead to a healthier form in your jaws and airway. This not only includes straight teeth but also a larger airway. It can even improve your facial appearance. You can address concerns like a narrow face, protruding jaw, and more.
Get Myofunctional Therapy in Columbus, OH
If you are looking to develop healthier habits that support better breathing and overall health, myofunctional therapy might be right for you. Dr. Mike can evaluate your condition and let you know if this is the best approach for you. Please call (614) 683-4640 today for a free consultation at Firouzian Sleep Wellness in Columbus, OH.