What is Myofunctional Therapy?

Thousand Oaks, Agoura Hills and Westlake Village, CA

When there is improper function of the muscles in the face and movement of your tongue when you talk or swallow or even when it is at rest, you may be suffering from an Orofacial Myofunctional Disorder. Contrary to popular belief, this disorder is not only found in children but is quite common in teens and adults as well. In fact, an OMD may develop when you have poor nasal breathing habits or if you are habituated to breathing through your mouth. In such cases, gradually your Orofacial functions including the muscles, adapt to this improper breathing pattern and this can create an OMD. OMDs also occur in children who had the habit of sucking their thumb past infancy as well as using a pacifier and/or sippy cup.

Who Can Benefit from Myofunctional Therapy?

There are several factors that contribute to this disorder and several symptoms that indicate that an adult or child has OMD, such as:

  • Lisp or other speech impediments
  • A baby that cannot breast feed and/or latch to the breast
  • Clenching or grinding of the teeth
  • Snoring or sleep apnea
  • Tongue-tied
  • Braces or have had braces
  • Thumb sucking or another oral habit (blanket, finger sucking, pencil biting, or nail biting)
  • Slouching or forward head posture
  • Open bite, a deep bite, or other dental abnormalities
  • Tongue thrust or the continuous movement of the tongue between the teeth or against them when talking or swallowing
  • Continuous open mouth position

Keep in mind that some symptoms, such as tongue thrust, are perfectly normal in infants but when this habit persists during the later years, they could be indicative of OMD. However, if you detect any of these symptoms in yourself or in your child it is critical for you to immediately consult an expert. Early consultation ensures that treatment if necessary can be started at the earliest so that the best outcomes can be achieved and correction of poor habits can be changed at once and new healthy habits can be implemented.

How Can Myofunctional Therapy Help Me?

To diagnose an OMD, you may be examined by a myofunctional therapist who assesses the movement of your tongue in relation to your lips, teeth, jaws, and teeth. This oral health professional may examine your oral movements while you swallow or speak to verify proper diagnosis. In some cases, you may be referred to an orthodontist or ENT specialist for further tests and verification.

At Integrative Dental Arts, we assess your symptoms, carry out a thorough examination and then determine if you have OMD and if so, determine how it can be rectified in the best way possible for you.

To learn more about our myofunctional therapy specialist, Dr. Kathleen Carson, please click here to see all of the extensive education she has to make this the right choice. You can schedule a consultation by calling Integrative Dental Arts at (818) 889-0400.

We welcome patients of Agoura Hills, Thousand Oaks, and Westlake Village.