What is Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy?
Our mouths can be an area that is misunderstood when it comes to muscle function. Many people have improper use of the oral and facial muscles. Orofacial muscle dysfunction can lead to dental malformations and relate to other health issues. Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy is a highly personalized therapy to help target abnormal muscle use and/or function. We work to improve muscle tone, regain proper resting positions of the tongue and lips to support proper muscle function for eating, chewing and swallowing. When we can get proper muscle use of the oral and facial muscles it can have lasting positive effects!
What can cause an Orofacial Myofunctional Disorder?
There are many things that can interfere with normal muscle function. Some things that can direct the muscles into abnormal patterning can include:
Long term pacifier use
Long term thumb/finger sucking habits
Restricted airway due to enlarged tonsils, adenoids, deviated septum or chronic allergies
Short lingual frenum (Tongue-Tie)
Large tongue (Macroglossia)
Routine habit of resting with lips apart
Neurologic of developmental abnormalities
Example of a Tongue-Tie
Example of an open bite
Open mouth resting posture
Restrictive maxillary frenum
Tongue-tie is a complex issue that can affect many people unknowingly. Some tongue-ties aren't as obvious as this particular patient however the impact can be very different from person to person.
Tongue-tie can affect how the tongue is able to do its functions. The tongue has to do many complex functions such as elevating, retracting protruding and lateralizing. What if a small piece of tissue was holding the tongue down like a rope? A patient may experience difficulty with eating, chewing, poor posture, swallowing, speech and stomach upset (abnormal swallow pattern may contribute to increased ingestion of air).
Where does your tongue sit in your mouth? This may be a weird question but there are typically 3 answers: On the roof of the mouth, in the middle or on the floor of the mouth. The correct tongue resting position is for the tongue to fully rest on the roof of the mouth.
Why is tongue position important?
Tongue position is important because the tongue is a huge facilitator for orofacial growth and development. when the tongue rests on the roof of the mouth it helps to stimulate the bone of the maxilla to grow in a more ideal way. When the tongue is not on the roof of the mouth we can start to see a collapse of the dental arch and can notice things such as crowding of the teeth and a non-ideal bite. This can start to affect appearance, create a high vault in the palate (this can affect nasal airway volume), contribute to orthodontic relapse, posture problems and relate to airway issues.
When you see a Certified Orofacial Myologist we do a functional assessment to see if there is a dysfunction of the orofacial muscles. If there is a tongue-tie present we look to see if it is contributing to abnormal use of the muscles. If a patient needs a tongue-tie release we work with our patients before and after to optimize the surgical outcomes.
Why be concerned about an Orofacial Myofunctional Disorder?
Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders (OMD) can play a large roll in craniofacial development and can have long-term effects.
OMD’s can also relate to:
*The shape of the mouth
*Jaw joint pain
*Dental bite and alignment
*Head and neck posture problems
*Poor sleep patterns
*Poor airway development
Myofunctional Therapy Program
Every patient is uniquely different, that’s why my therapy is treatment planned differently from one patient to the next. Generally, we will see patients every two weeks however, these intervals can also vary to fit the patients’ needs and lifestyle.
Patients will be prescribed a series of Myofunctional exercises, the patient will work on their treatment plan and will be evaluated on progress and directed forward with new and/or additional exercises. The patient advances forward through therapy to habituation stage therapy. Once a patient graduates from the program there will be re-check visits spanning over 3-12 months to evaluate retention.
Some goals of Myofunctional Therapy are to normalize resting postures. Resting postures include tongue fully seated on the palate, lips together without strain, patent nasal breathing, and teeth slightly apart for an ideal freeway space. We also work towards normalized eating, chewing, and swallowing.
Habit Elimination Program
Did you know?
Thumb/finger sucking can have a negative affect on craniofacial development. Thumb and finger sucking can also negatively impact a child’s airways, speaking and swallowing.
When trying to eliminate a habit such as thumb or finger sucking it can cause a lot of anxiety and stress for the child. It can also be exhausting for parents because they feel like they have tried all options, but now Harmony Myofunctional Therapy is here to help!
We use a proven scientific program that is encouraging and fun to eliminate the problem with no harsh appliances!
Let us help make this a positive change! Call today to book your appointment.
Anterior Open Bite
Look at the amazing changes in occlusion with this patient! This patient had an Anterior Open Bite. We were able to assess that the tongue was not able to do its function because of a tongue-tie. Since the tongues movement was restricted the patient adapted to a "backwards swallow pattern" where the tongue would push forward on the front teeth to accomplish the swallow. This patient was referred for assessment for tongue-tie release (frenectomy). After the tongue had good mobility we were able to work on building strength and develop patterns to regain the normal function of the tongue and surrounding muscles. All patients are different and can have very different dysfunction with muscle use and patterns. Every patient requires personalized treatment planning and may need the help of multiple practitioners to get the best outcome! Book an appointment today and see what we can do for you or your loved ones.
You’re Always Welcome at Harmony Myofunctional Therapy
Each patient is different and with Harmony Myofunctional therapy we don't use cookie-cutter treatment plans. We strive to give each patient the best-individualized treatment. We work in a multi-disciplinary approach because sometimes we need multiple professions to provide the best care.
We’re here for you when you need us! Call or email us to schedule an appointment. No referral necessary!
Referring offices: email us if you would like to request a referral package to be sent to your office. Or send referral to the email below.
Kristin Weaver R.D.H. C.O.M. (Cert B.B.M.)
Kristin graduated from the Toronto College of Dental Hygiene in 2009. Kristin became interested in Myofunctional Therapy after attending a continuing education course. She is now an active member of the I.A.O.M. and received her certification in 2018, being one of the first Certified Orofacial Myologists in Canada. Kristin also continued her education into the study of the Buteyko breathing method. As Kristin continued to study and understand the consequences of dysfunctional breathing, she furthered her studies to become a Certified Buteyko Breathing Instructor in 2020. Kristin loves working with a wide variety of patients from children to adults. Kristin works passionately in the specialization of Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy to make a positive impact in her patient’s lives.
We are passionate about educating others! Are you a Dental office wanting to know more about Myofunctional Therapy and how this could benefit your patients? Contact us and we can send you referral material. Ask about setting up a lunch and learn for you and your team. We would love to be a part of your collaborative approach!
Certified Buteyko Practitioner
Kristin is a certified Buteyko Breathing Practitioner and a member of the Buteyko Clinic International.
Named after Dr. Konstantin Buteyko, the Buteyko Method consists of a series of breathing exercises and guidelines specifically designed to reduce over-breathing (clinically known as ‘chronic hyperventilation’). The simple fact is that many people breathe too much, which alters the natural levels of gases in the blood, reduces oxygen delivery to tissues and organs, and causes constriction of the smooth muscles surrounding blood vessels and airways. This can lead to numerous health problems. Bringing breathing volume towards normal and making the switch from mouth to nose breathing helps to alleviate such health problems.
Kristin is one of the most dedicated, passionate people in dentistry that I have ever run across. She is innovative, and always finding ways to provide the best myofunctional therapy for the person she is treating. Kristin played a key role in helping me to get my Sleep Apnea from moderate to below mild.
I highly recommend Kristin!