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Myofunctional Therapy in Park Ridge, IL

Dentist Near Park Ridge

Myofunctional Therapy Near Park Ridge

Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy – A Treatment for Sleep Apnea and Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders (OMDs)

The muscles, nerves, and tongue are all responsible for a number of daily functions, from speaking correctly, to chewing, breathing, and swallowing. When someone has an orofacial myofunctional disorder, also known as an OMD, the muscles in the facial area and throat do not work as they should, affecting bone development, swallowing, speech, temporomandibular joint function, facial appearance, etc.

Sleep apnea can be caused by an OMD, as well, or even be the cause of them. Sleep apnea is when a person stops breathing repeatedly throughout the night. Sleep apnea may also be caused by things like allergies or enlarged tonsils.

Sleep apnea causes a chronic lack of substantial oxygen intake during sleep hours, and has been linked to depression, ADHD, headaches, shorter lifespan, snoring, drowsiness, choking while sleeping, and other issues.

Treating sleep apnea is necessary to prevent serious complications for those suffering from the condition. At Beyond Smiles, we aim to treat all our patients with sleep apnea in Park Ridge with compassion and thoroughness. We determine the cause of their condition and discuss all available treatment options.

A Treatment for UARS

Another condition similar to sleep apnea, but not quite as severe, is upper airway resistance syndrome (UARS). It’s not unusual for a child or adult who has tested negative for sleep apnea to still suffer from significant breathing issues, bite misalignment, etc. due to UARS. Symptoms of UARS are similar to sleep apnea, but since the symptoms do not quite meet the parameters of a sleep apnea diagnosis, patients with this condition often go undiagnosed.

UARS typically leads to many problems associated with sleep apnea, such as daytime drowsiness, lack of concentration, bedwetting, and more.

What is Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy

Orofacial myofunctional therapy exercises facial muscles and strengthens them, such as the tongue, mouth, and lips, allowing for better growth and development.

In order to address sleep apnea or UARS caused by an OMD, there are customizable facial exercises recommended by dentists and orofacial myofunctional therapists which help retrain the affected muscles.

As noted above, untreated OMDs can also lead to other problems. Orofacial myofunctional therapy can be used to treat issues like improper chewing, speaking, swallowing, dental problems (such as teeth shifting or bite misalignment), tense facial muscles, drooling, and more.

The Goals of Myofunctional therapy:

  • Improve Nasal Breathing: Mouth breathing is a habit that can cause several issues, including the narrowing of dental arches, abnormal facial development, and more. Nasal breathing is better for our health as it filters the air we breathe, enhances memory, lowers blood pressure, allows us to feel less drowsy, and makes learning easier.
  • Lip Seal: When lips seal properly it helps support the oral structures, encourages nasal breathing, and lessens the chances of acquiring a gum infection and/or cavities.
  • Proper Tongue Position: The tongue presses to the roof of the mouth naturally, however a weak tongue will not, causing the upper jaw, facial structure, and teeth to have trouble developing. A tongue that lays naturally low in the mouth can fall back in the throat and instigate breathing problems, such as snoring or sleep apnea, as well as lead to crooked teeth or a narrow jaw.
  • Proper Swallowing: If a patient swallows while thrusting their tongue, it can cause the teeth to shift and move, causing an open bite, and/or a patient may frequently swallow air which can lead to digestive problems.

Who Should Undergo Myofunctional Therapy

Both children and adults can have orofacial myofunctional disorders, therefore patients of all ages can benefit from myofunctional therapy. Children who receive treatment benefit from the preventative measures myofunctional therapy can provide for developing smiles, while adults are able to work through and correct the symptoms of more advanced myofunctional issues.
There are many different conditions that can be treated with myofunctional therapy, including but not limited to, the following:

  • Neck and Shoulder Tension
  • Chronic Headaches
  • Orthodontic Relapse
  • Chewing/Swallowing Issues
  • Digestive Issues
  • Misaligned Bite or Crooked Teeth
  • Speech Issues
  • Jaw/TMJ Pain
  • Clenching and Grinding
  • Acid Reflux
  • Forward Head Posture
  • Mouth Breathing
  • Tongue Tie
  • Tongue Thrust
  • ADHD

Myofunctional Disorders & Orthodontics

If you are undergoing orthodontic treatment, myofunctional disorders can mean braces will have to be kept on for a longer period of time, or cause teeth to shift after braces are removed. It can also make adjusting teeth more difficult.

The Role of A Myofunctional Therapist

A Myofunctional Therapist is specially skilled at helping patients develop good muscular habits, and resolving issues like tongue thrust and mouth breathing. Breaking these habits can be difficult, since the body has usually developed them over a long period of time.
A Myofunctional Therapist can help patients re-train their muscles, improve orthodontic treatment results, speech, dental health, breathing, swallowing, etc.

Your Trusted Park Ridge Dentist

If you are dealing with an orofacial myofunctional disorder, UARS, or sleep apnea, contact Beyond Smiles for more information about our services and treatment options today.

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