What is Myofunctional Therapy?
The history of Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy (OMT) dates back to the 15th century and gained interest in the 1900s 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. It consists of a series of customised exercises, to educate the muscles of the face and mouth to restore their proper function. Through repetition, you train your muscles and nerves to follow new patterns of behaviour. We work with both adults and children to help correct function.
Aims Of Myofunctional Therapy
The four main aims to successful treatment of Myofunctional Therapy are to:
- have correct resting posture of the tongue on the roof of the mouth
- achieve Nasal Breathing
- 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:
- Mouth Breathing
- diagnosed Sleep Apnoea
- poor oral habits, for example, thumb sucking, tongue thrusting or long-term use of a dummy
- having a tongue tie or 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 so that a base line of function can be assessed. An individual programme is then created for you or your child that is tailored to meet your specific needs. The exercises are not difficult but need to be done every day and they change as the programme progresses. 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.