What Is The Value Of Myofunctional Therapy?

by | Mar 18, 2024 | Blog

Over our years in dentistry we have seen countless people whom have had previous orthodontic treatment, only to see the teeth misalign again. It was typical to attribute this to not wearing their retainers. Failure to wear the orthodontic retainer may certainly be a part of the issue.

I had a bonded, lingual retainer wire placed after 3 years of traditional orthodontics.  I thought for certain this would circumvent a relapse. I wore it for well over 20 years. Over time, I began to feel more and more annoyed with the bonding…. it was difficult to floss my teeth with the wire present.  I came to the point where I wanted it taken off.  I truly thought by that point, enough time had passed that the bone and gum tissue would have been mature enough to keep my teeth locked in place. Several months past and I noticed that my lower teeth began to shift. I did wear a type of retainer periodically, so (after feeling annoyed) I wondered further…why?

Meanwhile, our hygienist Marcie had completed training and certification as an Oromyofunctional Therapist. When she saw me, she noticed some patterns that likely contributed to my relapse.  She is trained in coaching patients on therapeutic activities that re-educate the neuromuscular connection. With greater attention, I took notice that my tongue likes to touch my lower teeth and likely I’m pushing on the very teeth that have shifted. It’s a habit I wasn’t aware of till now and I need to stop!

My issue, and the principle remains. I can retrain and correct my function through myofunctional therapy (MYO). Then when I correct the shifted teeth, they’ll stay in place. My tongue muscle won’t fight and push. It will support.

Other benefits of MYO are greater gum health. When you can breathe through your nose and properly seal your lips, you gain greater air filtration, staying healthier.  Oral tissues stay healthier when the tissues are moist and plaque is easier to remove vs when it’s dried out and hard as a brick.  Myofunctional therapy for someone with a tongue thrust, which can cause an open bite, can provide a great assurance that your time and money spent on orthodontics will be longer lasting. The tongue is a very strong muscle and we don’t want it to be fighting against the corrections you’re aiming to make!

If you know of someone prone to ear infections, has speech difficulties, digestive and seasonal allergy problems, consider being evaluated and see if MYO can help you.

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