Many children struggle with crowded teeth and incorrect jaw alignment: but did you know that these problems are often caused by poor oral habits that begin early in life?
The good news is that early treatment is usually very helpful in preventing the development of more serious issues. While traditional orthodontic treatments produce some effective results, myofunctional orthodontics manages both the symptoms and causes of functional issues in the face. Here’s what you need to know about the treatment; what it involves, and its outcomes.
What is myofunctional therapy?
Myofunctional therapy works by correcting functional issues in the face through repetitive facial exercises. Ideally, there should be a harmonious relationship between the muscles in the face, mouth and throat. When all of these muscles work together properly, we are able to breathe, chew, swallow and speak without any pain or discomfort.
Myofunctional therapy essentially seeks to retrain the oral and facial muscles through targeted exercises and behavior modification methods to improve function. The therapy also aims to create the best possible resting posture, with teeth and lips together and the tongue positioned against the top of the mouth. In children, myofunctional therapy helps to form healthy habits, while adults often enjoy pain relief in the head, neck and jaw.
What is myofunctional orthodontics?
Myofunctional orthodontics refers to an alternative to traditional orthodontics, in which braces are not used. With a growing demand for no-braces treatment, myofunctional orthodontics is an effective option for straightening teeth, treating jaw alignment issues, and improving overall oral function.
How does it work?
Myofunctional orthodontics involves the use of soft, silicone oral appliances, rather than traditional metal braces. The appliances, which are designed to correct a number of poor oral habits, are worn at night, and for a few hours during the day. They work by straightening crooked teeth, and resolve issues associated with incorrect jaw alignment.
As incorrect myofunctional habits (such as thumb sucking, mouth breathing, reverse swallowing, and tongue thrusting) are very often the cause of crooked teeth, patients may be taught some simple exercises for better oral muscle function. These will complement the use of the myofunctional appliance. A targeted program of exercises is painless, and very helpful in restoring strength and proper coordination in the muscles of the face and tongue.
What are the treatment goals?
With a combination of myofunctional exercises and the use of the appliance, patients generally experience improved tooth alignment, correct jaw and tongue posture, proper function of the facial muscles, improved swallowing technique, as well as improved facial appearance. The exercises should be performed daily for optimal results.
What are the advantages?
One of the most significant advantages of using myofunctional techniques, rather than traditional orthodontics, is that the causes of crooked teeth and incorrect jaw development are treated. Myofunctional appliances train the tongue to position correctly, which in turn improves swallowing and breathing techniques as well as tooth alignment. Myofunctional orthodontics can also contribute to better facial development in young children, if the treatment is started at an early age.
Who can undergo treatment?
Myofunctional orthodontic treatment works effectively in children. The oral and facial muscles are retrained early, preventing more serious issues, and helping to form healthy, long-term habits. The treatment also assists with proper facial growth and development.
It is possible, however, for adults to benefit from myofunctional orthodontics. While the treatment may take longer than it does in children, it’s never too late to seek treatment. Some benefits include improved teeth alignment and elimination of oral habits that are detrimental to facial function. This provides relief from uncomfortable symptoms and resolves a number of orthodontic issues.
If you’re interested in myofunctional orthodontics, please get in touch with us here to find out more or to make an appointment.