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Patient education

Understanding myofunctional therapy

What is myofunctional therapy?

Myofunctional therapy uses exercises that improve the strength of the muscles and function of the orofacial complex (tongue, lips, jaw, soft palate, and larynx). It is similar to physical therapy but for symptoms and conditions related to the face, mouth, jaw, and neck. Myofunctional therapy helps to address and retrain poor oral habits related to mouth breathing, improper chewing and swallowing, tongue thrust, nail biting, thumb sucking, clenching/grinding and other bad habits.

People with orofacial myofunctional disorders and tongue tie may have many symptoms such as:

  • Chronic neck and shoulder tension

  • Headaches

  • Dental cavities

  • Gum recession

  • TMJ pain and issues

  • Clenching and grinding

  • Tongue thrust

  • Snoring

  • Chronic Headaches

  • Waking up frequently during sleep

  • Bedwetting

  • Sleep apnea

  • Swallowing difficulty

  • Poor posture

  • Digestive issues

  • Malocclusion (poor bite and/or misaligned teeth tooth alignment)

  • Mouth breathing habits

  • Speech problems

  • Prolonged orthodontic treatment and/or orthodontic relapse after

Do I need myofunctional therapy?

If your tongue rests low in your mouth, or if you’re breathing through your mouth, you may need myofunctional therapy. Myofunctional therapy helps to reinforce the proper position of the tongue within the mouth. Your whole tongue should rest on the roof of your mouth.

Why is breathing through your nose important?

There are many reasons that nasal breathing is beneficial, it’s the way we're meant to breathe. Mouth breathing can cause a range of symptoms that affects all parts of your body from your teeth and facial structure to your digestive system.

What are symptoms of mouth breathing?

  • Small lower jaw or underbite

  •  Narrow long face

  •  Droopy eyes and mouth 

  • Flat facial features

  • Bad breath

  • Dental decay and gum disease

  • Stomach pain, gas and digestive problems

  • Snoring and sleep disordered breathing

  • A longer time in braces

  • Orthodontic relapse after braces are removed  

  • Hyperactivity and trouble focusing for children

  • Chronic fatigue and daytime sleepiness in adults

What is a tongue-tie?

Tongue-tie (Ankyloglossia) is a condition that restricts the tongue's range of motion. It is also referred to as a tethered oral tissue (TOTs) or a restricted lingual frenum. The frenum is a band or a line of tissue under the tongue. In some people the band of tissue is too tight and/or too short. A restrictive lingual frenum interferes with the tongue’s mobility and prevents the tongue from functioning properly. Lip and cheek ties are also common in people with a tongue-tie.

Why is it important to have good tongue mobility?

When the tongue is able to rest fully in the roof of the mouth, it provides an internal support structure for the upper jaw. The tongue guides the growth of the upper jaw and the upper jaw guides the growth of the lower jaw. When the tongue is in the correct position, the teeth will grow in straighter, and your facial structure will develop properly. A tongue-tie does not allow the tongue to rest in its natural position and often forces the tongue to lie on the floor of the mouth. Many people with tongue-tie also develop a mouth breathing habit which causes many other symptoms and issues.

A tongue-tied individual can experience many myofunctional problems such as:

  • Chronic jaw pain (commonly known as TMJ pain)

  • Headaches

  • Clenching and/or grinding

  • Sleep disordered breathing

  • Poor bite/tooth alignment

Studies show that children with tongue-ties are more likely to develop sleep apnea and airway issues.

Does myofunctional therapy help with snoring?

Yes. Learning to breathe through your nose and strengthening the muscles of your tongue, mouth, and throat will help manage snoring. Myofunctional therapy has been shown to be helpful with other types of breathing related sleep disorders, such as obstructive sleep apnea or upper airway resistance syndrome. Sleep specialists often use myofunctional therapy to improve breathing problems during sleep.

Who can benefit from myofunctional therapy?

Myofunctional therapy is for anyone four years of age and over. Many questions regarding your specific symptoms can usually be answered with a free and  quick phone consultation.

Do you take insurance?

I am unable to take insurance at this time, however flexible payment plans are available. I also accept HSA or FSA.

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