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Expanding Horizons: Can Myofunctional Therapy Expand Your Palate?

Are you struggling with various issues related to your oral health? Perhaps you have crooked teeth or are dealing with TMJ pain. If so, you might be seeking out a treatment method that has helped many others with the same problems. Myofunctional therapy applies principles of biology and physiology to improve oral health and can address issues like narrow palates, crooked teeth, sleep apnea, and TMJ pain.

Myofunctional therapy is relatively new within the dental/orthodontic field, but its effectiveness is becoming better known. This unique therapy takes a holistic approach to oral health by addressing its root causes – poor oral habits and how they negatively affect muscle tissues and bone. The idea is to guide proper development through craniofacial reprogramming – in other words, proper alignment of teeth, jaw, and soft tissue – at an early age and once permanent teeth have come in for optimal results.

What is Myofunctional Therapy?

Myofunctional therapy uses exercise to strengthen and reposition tongue, facial, and head muscles to improve function and form. It’s based on the principle that what we do with our oral muscles impacts physical development of the mouth, jaw, and face. In other words, myofunctional therapy helps encourage normal growth and function of the jaw and facial muscles, leading to a broader, fuller palate, a straighter smile, and better overall oral health.

The exercises and activities in myofunctional therapy range from functional movements like swallowing, eating, speaking, and breathing correctly to strength-building exercises. The goal is to correct muscular and skeletal imbalances by retraining the jaws, mouth, and tongue and repositioning the head.

How Can Myofunctional Therapy Expand Your Palate?

A narrow palate is a condition in which the upper jaw is effectively too small or incorrectly positioned in relation to the lower jaw. When left unaddressed, it not only leads to a number of issues in and of itself but also increases the risk for other problems like crooked or overcrowded teeth, receding chin, and TMJ pain. So, how can myofunctional therapy help prevent or even reverse a narrow or underdeveloped palate?

Myofunctional therapy helps change the environment in which dental, facial, and cranial development takes place. For young patients, this means encouraging preferred tongue posture (where the tongue is pressed against the roof of the mouth rather than the lower lip) and engaging in exercises that build strength and flexibility in the tongue and nearby muscles. It also involves proper oral muscle movements such as proper swallowing and breathing, and maintaining a full, open posture while participating in activities like eating, reading, and working.

For adults, myofunctional therapy can still help improve symptom severity and prevent further damage. Therapeutic activities include learning to breath through the nose rather than the mouth, proper tongue posture, and practicing exercises to strengthen the tongue and mouth. Plus, the same activities that are beneficial for children are also good for adults to engage in.

Conclusion

Myofunctional therapy has gained a lot of attention in the dental and orthodontic community because it offers solutions to many common problems like narrow palates, crooked teeth, sleep apnea, and TMJ pain. This treatment takes a holistic approach to oral health and is founded on the principles of biology and physiology. The exercises and activities in myofunctional therapy helps retrain muscles in the mouth and throat in order to improve function and form. Exercise, in the form of myofunctional therapy, helps lay the ground work for proper craniofacial growth, leading to a broader, fuller palate, a straighter smile, and overall better oral health.

If you are looking for a solution to improve your oral health or for the optimal development of your child, talk to your dentist or orthodontist about the benefits of myofunctional therapy.