Whether we are aware of them or not, improper oral resting habits can wreak havoc on our health and cause major issues over time. Thankfully myofunctional therapy is a non-invasive treatment to help strengthen the oral muscles to rest in their proper place. If you’re ready to get started with myofunctional therapy, here are some things to consider when selecting a myofunctional therapist.
What Is Myofunctional Therapy?
Myofunctional therapy is a series of simple, quick exercises that strengthen the tongue and facial muscles to correct improper muscle function. The therapy exercises focus on optimizing the tongue’s resting position, chewing and swallowing, and continuing emphasis on strengthening.
The goals of myofunctional therapy aim to promote better health, reduce pain, improve breathing, and enhance the overall quality of life.
Reasons to Consider Myofunctional Therapy
Myofunctional therapy is a way to correct improper tongue and facial muscle function. It is a non-invasive way to treat ailments such as:
A tongue thrust is a disorder where the tongue is in a forward position, even during rest, and when the tongue thrusts against or between the teeth when speaking and swallowing.
A lisp is a common type of speech impediment from incorrect tongue placement during the production of certain sounds. Some lisps are prevalent at birth, and others show up over time.
Tongue-Ties and Lip-Ties
A tongue-tie or lip-tie can impact feeding, speaking, sleeping, chronic pain, and many other issues! They can be assessed in all ages, from infancy to adulthood, if symptoms are present.
Snoring and Sleep Disordered Breathing
Sleep and breathing impact not only fatigue but your entire health. Snoring and sleep apnea are two common sleep issues that need attention and treatment so that you can find rest and relief.
Swallowing and Chewing Issues
The muscles of your face, throat, and tongue work together to help you eat and chew food. Swallowing and chewing incorrectly can affect the way your face develops.
Although rare, open bites can cause problems with chewing and swallowing. They can be caused by tongue thrust, thumb-sucking, or a TMJ disorder, and can be treated with myofunctional therapy to realign the bite.
Breathing through the mouth, with lips parted and a forward head posture, can cause many health issues. It can affect facial growth and development, causing crooked teeth and a crowded mouth.
Myofunctional therapy addresses the root cause of these issues and trains the face and tongue muscles to function as they should.
To learn about myofunctional treatment, read these resources:
1. Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders: Examples
2. Myofunctional Therapy Resources & Exercise
Questions to Ask a Myofunctional Therapist
Are you a certified myofunctional therapist?
While certification is not required to practice myofunctional therapy, more organizations are looking toward standards of training to protect providers and the public at large. Myofunctional medicine and sciences do not have a professional license of its designation; therefore, the ability to practice this therapy is based on the scope of practice within an allied health license. That said, most dedicated myofunctional therapists will have credentials or proof of training they’ve completed in the subject matter.
What type of treatments do you use?
Myofunctional therapy is a natural, non-invasive treatment to retrain muscles and correct improper oral habits. Typically, myofunctional therapists will focus on exercises first. However, some will combine treatments with other recommendations including surgery, dental care, speech therapy and more.
What age range do you treat?
While it’s more common to see early signs of orofacial myofunctional disorders in younger infants and toddlers, the onset of issues can happen at any age. A myofunctional therapist should treat patients as young as infants into mature adults. From tongue-tie recovery to long-term bruxism and TMJ disorders, myofunctional therapy can help people of all ages.
How will I know if Myofunctional Therapy is working?
Myofunctional therapy is a process that requires dedication and consistency. When practicing the exercises regularly and as much as prescribed, you will begin to see results after about six months. Your body has created habits for years, so it takes some time to retrain your muscles properly. You’ll be able to see improvements in your symptoms, and also find yourself speaking, chewing, etc. better than ever before.
Schedule an Appointment With Our Very Own Myofunctional Therapist
If your unique health situation warrants consideration for myofunctional therapy, we can help. Schedule an appointment with our certified myofunctional therapist, Courtney Krei, RDH, OMT, today and we’ll help you live your healthiest life possible. And, keep in mind that if coming into our Lakewood office isn’t an option for you, we do offer virtual consultations!