“Myo“ is the medical prefix that stands for muscle. Orafacial Myofunctional Therapy involves identifying and eliminating harmful habits or disorders that involve the muscles of the tongue, cheek, lips and the position of the jaw. The therapy often is used in the correction of behavioral patterns, such as thumb-sucking or finger-sucking.
At an early age, incorrect muscle function affects the development of the craniofacial (head and facial) complex and can result in anterior open bite, open-mouth rest posture, and inadequate swallowing patterns.
Research shows that a tongue which rests down and forward is related to narrow palate and lack of lip seal. The tongue is actually a muscle that can create a surprisingly strong force. Given typical repetitive movements of 1000 times a day, the force exerted by the improper movement of the tongue contributes to deformation of surrounding structures. As a result, it’s important to correct any malfunction or habitual misuse of the tongue.
Myofunctional therapy may be required as part of the correction of a malocclusion, a condition in which the upper teeth and the lower teeth to not meet in an optimal way. Myofunctional therapy helps provide a stable environment for the bite after orthodontic treatment is completed. To treat a malocclusion successfully, the orthodontist must be aware of the neuromusclular forces associated with it.
Dr. Calkins is trained to diagnose and treat abnormal activities in the pattern of tongue movements, the muscles involved in chewing, as well as the muscles around the mouth and in the cervical or neck area. Since a malocclusion can affect respiration, evaluation of respiratory function is also essential in the diagnosis and treatment of a malocclusion.
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