Your mouth, jaw, lips, tongue, and facial muscles all work together to perform very complex jobs. They’re critical when it comes to speaking, chewing, smiling, swallowing, and even breathing. Muscle disorders within any of these systems are referred to as orofacial myofunctional disorders, (or OMDs) and can affect patients of all ages. Many people even develop these disorders gradually, without even realizing it.
At Dental Solutions of Columbus, we provide myofunctional therapy to help patients resolve the root causes of their OMD and prevent the negative effects of these disorders. Because this is a less widely known form of treatment, we created this handy guide to inform you of the ways myofunctional therapy can benefit you.
How Do I Know If I Need Myofunctional Therapy?
People generally don’t need to put any thought into chewing, smiling, or eating. Instead, they happen mostly automatically. This is convenient for us, but it can result in abnormal patterns of biting and chewing that are reinforced through muscle memory. Over time these patterns lead to additional wear on your teeth and can even cause head or neck pains. You may also notice other symptoms such as:
- Speech distortion, or difficulty pronouncing certain sounds
- Your tongue pressing against your teeth during speech or swallowing
- Difficulty breathing through your nose
- Limited tongue movement
- An overbite or underbite
If you notice any of these symptoms you can benefit from a consultation with your orthodontist.
What Does Myofunctional Therapy Involve?
Fortunately, this particular treatment doesn’t require surgery or complicated procedures to correct. Instead, it has much in common with physical therapy. The goal is to essentially retrain your facial muscles. Your orthodontist will work with you to develop a custom treatment plan that tackles your unique issues. With the help of therapeutic exercises and in some cases custom oral appliances, you can ease yourself back into normal patterns of eating and speaking. Both adults and children can benefit from this treatment. The earlier an OMD is caught and corrected the better!
For any other questions about the benefits of myofunctional therapy, don’t hesitate to reach out to our friendly front office team!
If you have any questions about our services or want to book an appointment, please contact us today!