Myofunctional therapy is a great addition to the toolkit of any dentist, but we understand that it sounds complicated to most patients. It’s a mouthful of a word, and it’s a new concept for many of our patients. This can make some people reluctant to pursue it as a potential treatment.
That’s why we want to take time to explain the goals of myofunctional therapy in clear, concise terms so you can understand what we’re doing and why.
Promote Nasal Breathing
The structure of our body makes the nose the logical channel for breath. Our nose has structures to humidify, warm, and filter the air we breathe. This helps us stay healthy. In addition, breathing through the nose allows your tongue and jaw to be in the proper rest position most of the time, which can help your body maintain a healthy balance between your jaws, teeth, and muscles. You should rarely or never breathe through your mouth.
That’s why we work hard to help you breathe through your nose almost exclusively.
Strengthen Muscles of the Mouth and Face
Our tongue and jaw muscles perform a variety of functions. Not only do they help us bite, chew, speak, and swallow–they help shape and maintain the face and throat. Unfortunately, sometimes your muscles might not be strong enough to achieve these functions.
Weak muscles in the jaw are more likely to get sore during normal function, causing jaw pain. Plus, they aren’t as able to support themselves, the jaw, and the throat during sleep, which can worsen snoring and sleep apnea.
So with myofunctional therapy, we work to strengthen these muscles so they can perform their critical functions.
Build the Healthy Habit of Oral Resting Posture
Nasal breathing forces the mouth and tongue into unhealthy positions. These positions become habitual over time, so that you maintain them even if you don’t need to.
With myofunctional therapy, we give you exercises and encouragement to help you establish the healthy habit of holding your mouth and jaw in a healthy position with your lips together and your tongue on the roof of the mouth. Once you establish this habit, it will constantly help to reinforce the benefits of myofunctional therapy, long after your therapy sessions have ended.
Alleviate Jaw Pain through Healthy Behaviors
Just as your jaw can develop bad habits for its resting posture, it can develop unhealthy behaviors during functions like biting, chewing, swallowing, and talking. This is partly related to the development of your jaw and teeth, but it might also be related to weakness in the muscles of your mouth and face.
As we strengthen and retrain your mouth and jaw muscles, it becomes easier for you to do all these functions, so you’re less likely to develop painful jaw strain.
Learn How Myofunctional Therapy Can Help You
We know myofunctional therapy is a mouthful–a mouthful of benefits for you. If you are looking for ways to improve the health and function of your mouth and jaw, myofunctional therapy can help. And because it gives you the tools to manage your health, the benefits can last a lifetime–you’ll be enjoying them long after therapy sessions cease.
To learn how myofunctional therapy can help you, please call 703-323-8200 today for an appointment with neuromuscular dentist Dr. Pamela Marzban, serving all of Northern Virginia from her office in Burke.