What is Myofunctional Therapy

Myofunctional Therapy is a treatment to improve the way the muscles of the face function, or what is called ‘mouth posture’. Patterns that have been created by inappropriate muscle function and habits involving the tongue, lips, jaws, and face should be corrected for improved health and self-esteem.

Mouth posture is taken seriously because if the muscles are out of balance, then the teeth, jaws, and face will be affected. Correcting or improving the resting tongue or lip relationships can be beneficial in aiding the development of normal facial growth patterns and tooth alignment.

Not only can thumb sucking and pacifiers [dummies] change the shape of the mouth, but one of the most common problems in the growing child’s mouth is the tongue thrust swallow. Very few people are aware that a tongue thrust swallow can be very damaging to the developing teeth, jaws, and airway. Commonly, this type of swallow is present following thumb sucking or pacifier use, or perhaps a ‘tongue tie’ condition, and, if not corrected, will contribute to crowded teeth, narrow jaws, and a compromised airway.

A restricted airway leads to children breathing through their mouths. With mouth breathing, the tongue is pressed low in the mouth and the result is an underdeveloped and narrow jaw. This leads to crowded teeth, bite issues, and health effects. If you read the book ‘Breath’ by James Nestor, you will get an in-depth personal account of the impact on lifelong health from this type of problem.

A baby is sucking her thumb

Goals of Myofunctional Therapy

The goals of myofunctional therapy are to:

  • Eliminate thumb, finger, object, and tongue sucking habits.
  • Promote a closed lip posture and a balanced tongue resting position
  • Establish nasal breathing
  • Encourage a correct swallowing technique.

How Does It Work

Myofunctional therapy consists of a number of exercises or activities given to the patient to practice at home. Dedication and cooperation of the patient can change swallowing and resting posture habits with an improvement in health and a reduction in the likelihood of orthodontic treatment.

Alana, our Clinical Team Leader, has attended courses on myofunctional therapy in the US and is [amongst her many other credentials] a qualified Myofunctional Therapist. She has an excellent empathy with our younger patients and her treatments have resulted in many of our youthful patients becoming fitter, healthier, looking better, and developing greater self-confidence.

Alana is a Myofunctional therapist at Burford Dental.
Alana: Qualified myofunctional therapist.