What is Myofunctional Therapy?
The history of Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy (OMT) dates back to the 15th century and gained interest in the 1900's from Orthodontists, but fell out of fashion due to fixed orthodontic appliances. Gradually, there has been a resurgence due to the growing awareness that the oral soft tissues, good muscles and tongue strength, have an influence not only on dental health, but are key in good airway and breathing health.
Myofunctional Therapy is a neurological re-education and re-patterning of the oral, facial and oropharyngeal (back of the throat) muscles. Which means that through repetition you train your muscles and nerves new patterns of behaviour. It consists of a series of customised exercises, to educate the muscles of the face and mouth to restore their proper function. We work with both adults and children to help correct function.
Aims Of Myofunctional Therapy
There are four main aims to successful treatment of Myofunctional Therapy.
-To have correct resting posture of the tongue on the roof of the mouth.
-Achieve Nasal Breathing.
-To have the mouth closed and good lip seal.
-Have a correct swallowing function.
Would I benefit from Myofunctional Therapy?
Some indications that you or your child may benefit from Myofunctional Therapy include -
-Diagnosed Sleep Apnoea.
-Poor oral habits for example thumb sucking, tongue thrusting or long-term use of a dummy.
-Having a tongue tie or having a tongue tie release.
-Snoring or having disturbed sleeping pattern.
-Relapsed Orthodontic work or prior to orthodontic treatment.
What happens at an Appointment?
The first appointment is an in-depth assessment and a base line of function is assessed. An individual programme is tailored to meet needs. The exercises are not difficult but need to be done every day, with exercise progression weekly. Improvements in function are then monitored throughout the course.
Myofunctional Therapists often work in conjunction with other medical professionals such as Dentists, Orthodontists, Ear Nose and Throat Specialists (ENTs) and Sleep Specialists. However, it is a new field in the UK, and this may not always be the case.