Orofacial myofunctional disorders prohibit your tongue and facial muscles from optimally functioning. Over time, these disorders can seriously impact the quality of your life—leading to issues like sleep-disordered breathing or malocclusions. A variety of behaviors fall into this category, including:
- Swallowing incorrectly: When you swallow incorrectly, your tongue presses against your teeth, which is known as tongue thrust. Over a long period of time, the pressure from your tongue can push your teeth out of place, cause problems with the eruption of new teeth, and even result in tooth grinding and decay.
- Resting your mouth with your lips open: Commonly, this habit hints at improper breathing (mouth breathing), which can result in sleep apnea, cavities, and dry mouth.
- Improper alignment between your upper and lower teeth: Malocclusions can disrupt proper biting, chewing, swallowing, and digesting of food.
- Resting your tongue on the floor of your mouth: This position is associated with poor posture and can cause neck or jaw pain.
On top of these dental and physical problems, myofunctional disorders can also change your aesthetic appearance for the worse. This includes a dull, sluggish appearance from malocclusions, facial grimacing from improper swallowing, and a general dislike for your mouth being open at rest.
If left untreated, these disorders can cause speech problems, such as a lisp or difficulty articulating sounds, teeth shifting, as well as poor oral health. They can also cause issues such as sleep-disordered breathing, obstructive sleep apnea, and TMJ disorders—all of which impact quality of life and worsen total-body wellness.
How we can help:
At Bowen Legacy Dental, we focus on your holistic wellness—rather than just treating your symptoms. Myofunctional therapy allows us to tackle the underlying causes of many dental and wellness issues. This therapy is a fully noninvasive treatment that involves a sequence of exercises to promote nasal breathing, ideal tongue and mouth posture, as well as swallowing properly. These exercises are customized to fit your individual needs and goals. When used properly, you can strengthen your tongue and orofacial muscles, so they perform their appropriate functions while resting, chewing, speaking, swallowing, or sleeping.