Fulfill the Body’s Developmental Potential
For many children, sleep-disordered breathing is at least partly due to poor development of the jaws and airway. Fortunately, the body has the potential to correct these developmental issues, expanding the airway and improving a child’s breathing. Myofunctional therapy is an approach that teaches your child to develop healthy habits that encourage the development of their jaws and airway. This can not only improve breathing, but it can also make space for crowded teeth, improve their profile, and head off future jaw problems.
Want to learn whether myofunctional therapy is right for your child? Please contact a local ASAP Pathway dentist today for a custom management plan.
What Myofunctional Therapy Can Do
Myofunctional therapy addresses some common developmental problems in children. This can improve many interrelated issues that children face or that develop later in life. With myofunctional therapy, we can:
- Expand the airway
- Reshape the jaw
- Improve facial appearance
- Straighten teeth
- Improve jaw function
- Reduce tension in jaw muscles
All of these issues can stem from unhealthy habits in breathing, biting, chewing, swallowing, and other habitual motions. Learning proper techniques for these motions can encourage the proper development of the jaw system, which determines the size of the airway and the orientation of the teeth.
It’s important to note that improved breathing as a result of myofunctional therapy isn’t just during sleep. Children can breathe better all day long, giving them more energy to live healthy, happy, active lives.
The Theory of Myofunctional Therapy
Myofunctional therapy is based on the principle that our bodies develop in harmony. The interaction between our bodies’ complex systems both drive and limit growth and development.
The forces of chewing, combined with the pressure of the tongue on the back of the teeth, push the teeth and jaws outward. At the same time, the cheeks push inward.
Bad habits like mouth breathing reduce the amount of force pushing the jaw outward. This keeps the jaw from developing fully, with consequences like a narrow airway, crowded teeth, and a receding chin.
By teaching children good habits and performing exercises that make up for lost time, myofunctional therapy can encourage the development of the jaw to improve breathing, make room for teeth, and more. Establishing these healthy habits can also help a child avoid problems like temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ or TMD) later in life.
How Myofunctional Therapy Works
Myofunctional therapy is made up of two parts.
First, there are the exercises that we teach your child and that you perform with them on a daily basis. These exercises help to stimulate jaw growth and build healthy habits. By keeping up these healthy habits, children can enjoy good breathing for the rest of their lives.
Usually, a dentist will utilize an orthopedic appliance to supplement the forces of the muscles. This helps the body catch up on all the development it’s missed. Depending on your child’s current development and your goals, your child might wear the appliance for minutes, hours, or all day.
Start Management as Soon as Possible
Myofunctional therapy takes time to achieve its results. The sooner management starts, the easier it will be and the better the results. Think of it as trying to drive faster to get to work on time after leaving home late. The sooner you leave, the less fast you have to drive—and there’s a point where you’re just going to be late no matter what you do.