Myofunctional Therapy

Myofunctional Therapy 

Myofunctional therapy is a program used to correct the improper function of the tongue and facial muscles.

Myofunctional therapy is a series of highly effective physical therapy exercises.  It involves strengthening of the tongue and orofacial muscles by teaching individuals how to engage the muscles to the appropriate position. They also help keep the airway open, especially during sleep.  

Myofunctional therapy may also be an effective treatment for sleep-disordered breathing. Sleep-disordered breathing is a group of sleep conditions that cause a reduction in airflow through your upper airways. It includes heavy snoring and obstructive sleep apnea.  Myofunctional therapy treatment is safe and relatively inexpensive, which makes it an attractive alternative to other treatments
Proper diagnosis allows for targeted and effective therapy exercises for oral posture to promote better health with the goals to improve breathing, reduce pain and enhance quality of life.  Improper patterns can lead to a host of health problems and conditions including:

- Sleep-disordered breathing (including snoring and sleep apnea)

- Bruxism/Clenching

- Neck and shoulder tension

- Headaches

- Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) or Heartburn

- Orthodontic relapse

Sleep-Disordered Breathing:  Correcting the swallow pattern and tongue placement helps in building the lifting of the soft palate and increasing nasal breathing.  This allows for greater airflow and decrease of snoring.  In turn there is more oxygen taken in continuously.

Bruxism/Clenching: Myofunctinal therapy can identify improper nasal breathing which is often the main contributor to bruxing or clenching.  Therapy provides awareness of the habit and provides strategies to reduce or eliminate clenching or Bruxing
Gerd/Acid Reflux:  When a correct swallow exists it causes more force in the initiation of the swallow. A force full swallow allows for what is being swallowed to move further into the stomach and not be caught in the esophagus allowing for the potential reflux.

Orthodontic relapse:  Orthodontic relapse can occur because the underlying oral myofunctional disorders that caused the orthodontic issues in the first place have never been corrected.  The tongue is often where the problem actually lies. It should rest in the top of the mouth, filling the palate all the way from the front to the back. In addition, the mouth needs to be closed and lips together, and the swallowing pattern needs to be correct, without a tongue thrust that causes the tongue to push forwards against the teeth each and every time we swallow.

Meet our Myofunctional therapist Crystal Steffen, RDH 

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