What Is Myofunctional Therapy?

Myofunctional therapy is a program designed to train the muscles around the face, mouth, and tongue. Through the program, children can reduce certain issues with breathing, eating, or speaking.

Dr. Maddy Goodman and Dr. Heather Sholander often refer patients to this form of treatment if they notice certain issues in children. Keep reading this short blog post to discover everything you need to know about Myofunctional therapy and how it works! 

What Does Myofunctional Therapy Treat?

Myofunctional therapy can help address some abnormal movement patterns of the face or mouth, which can be caused by:

The exercises used are designed to re-train the muscles, nerves, and brain on how to properly move. Often, it can be an effective strategy to treat:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Speech disorders
  • Improper eating functions
  • Tongue thrust, etc.

How Do I Know If My Child Needs Myofunctional Therapy?

Signs that your child may need this type of therapy can include:

  • Facial pain
  • Mouth breathing
  • Teeth-grinding
  • Tongue thrusting
  • Stomach issues (caused by improper chewing)
  • Speech difficulties
  • Sleep apnea

It's possible your child will outgrow some of these issues on their own. However, it’s sometimes necessary to give them a bit more support and help them learn how to properly utilize their facial muscles and mouth.

Dr. Maddy Goodman and Dr. Heather Sholander can identify many of these situations in a regular pediatric appointment, and refer the little one to a Myofunctional therapist who may be able to assist.

What Does Myofunctional Therapy Look Like?

Think of Myofunctional therapy as physical therapy for the face. It’s provided by a trained professional who evaluates the child’s condition and creates a custom treatment plan designed to retrain the child’s muscles and improve their function.

The treatment will depend on the condition of the child, but some exercises used can include:

  • Tongue touches - Pushing the tip of the tongue against the hard palate.
  • Teeth touching - Putting the back of the tongue against the roof while keeping the tip pressing against the bottom front teeth;
  • Party horn - Blowing through a party horn for a few times to help control these facial movements;
  • Balloon inflation - Breathing in through the nose, and breathing out through the mouth to inflate a balloon;
  • Sucking through a straw - Using a narrow straw to suck on a more dense liquid, such as a smoothie or yogurt, etc.

Myofunctional therapy is not painful or dangerous for the child. It’s only meant to help them learn how to use their muscles properly!

Book an appointment at Harmony Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics

Dr. Maddy Goodman and Dr. Heather Sholander are ready to see your child for an appointment and make sure their teeth grow happy and healthy.

Book a consultation at Harmony Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics online to learn whether your child may need Myofunctional therapy.

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