Myofunctional therapy is a type of treatment that focuses on improving the function and strength of the muscles used for speaking, swallowing, and breathing. It is commonly used to treat problems with oral habits, such as thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, and mouth breathing, and can also be helpful for individuals with speech or swallowing disorders.
Myofunctional therapy typically involves exercises and activities that are designed to improve muscle strength and coordination. These may include exercises to improve tongue position and movement, jaw stability, and respiratory function. Myofunctional therapists may also teach patients how to properly swallow and chew food, as well as how to properly use the muscles of the face and mouth for speaking.
Myofunctional therapy is often provided by speech-language pathologists, dentists, or other healthcare professionals who are trained in this type of treatment. It may be provided in a clinic setting or through at-home exercises and activities. The length and frequency of myofunctional therapy can vary depending on the specific needs of the patient and the goals of treatment.
Myofunctional therapy can be an effective treatment option for a range of problems, including:
- Oral habits: Myofunctional therapy can help individuals break unhealthy oral habits, such as thumb sucking or tongue thrusting, and develop more functional muscle patterns for speaking, swallowing, and breathing.
- Speech disorders: Myofunctional therapy can help individuals improve their speech clarity and reduce speech impairments caused by muscle weakness or coordination problems.
- Swallowing disorders: Myofunctional therapy can help individuals improve their ability to swallow and reduce the risk of aspiration or choking during meals.
- Orthodontic concerns: Myofunctional therapy can be used as an adjunctive treatment for individuals undergoing orthodontic treatment to help correct muscle imbalances that may be contributing to tooth misalignment.
- Sleep concerns: Myofunctional therapy can be used as an adjunctive treatment for individuals using an oral appliance to improve airway dynamics to better sleep.
Overall, myofunctional therapy can be a useful treatment option for individuals with muscle-related problems related to jaw development as children, speaking, swallowing, and breathing. It can help improve muscle function and coordination, and may have a positive impact on overall health and well-being.