Straight Teeth the Natural Way
Problems with tooth overcrowding or tooth alignment are common, but in many cases are avoidable. Most children have the potential for jaw growth that can accommodate all adult teeth comfortably, and these issues are not hereditary. Instead, problems with crooked teeth and poor jaw development can be due to functional habits like mouth breathing, thumb sucking and tongue thrusting.
What Is Myofunctional Therapy?
Myofunctional therapy is a treatment that focuses on correcting the underlying causes while harnessing a child’s natural growth and development. Abnormal muscle patterns are replaced with normal activity as the child learns to place their tongue in the correct resting position, achieving proper oral-facial muscle balance.
Children learn how to correctly swallow while keeping their lips together and breathing through their nose. The therapy helps to widen the jaws, so they grow to the correct size, resulting in enough room for adult teeth to come in naturally, often without the need for braces to straighten them or tooth extractions. As a result, their jaws and facial structures can develop more favourably, achieving an optimal facial profile. Treatment helps to aid airway development, helping to prevent or treat sleep problems while promoting healthy eating habits.
When Should a Child Receive Myofunctional Therapy?
Poor oral habits often develop before all the permanent teeth are present so that we can treat the causes much sooner, sometimes as early as age three.
When your child visits Icon Dental regularly, we can monitor the growth and development of their jaws and if appropriate, may recommend myofunctional therapy.
How Does Myofunctional Therapy Work?
The therapy uses the Myobrace system, which consists of oral appliances that your child will wear for one hour each day and during sleep. The appliances work by helping to correct poor oral habits while expanding the dental arch, using light forces to align their teeth and jaws gently.
Additionally, your child will complete activities each day while wearing their appliance and which help to correct the myofunctional habits causing the problems. These activities are simple to perform and consist of a series of lip and cheek exercises, as well as breathing and tongue swallowing exercises.
The exact appliance used will depend on your child’s age, and the problems requiring correction and your child may use a series of three or more appliances to treat myofunctional habits. Sometimes myofunctional therapy can avoid the need for braces, but if your child does need orthodontics later, they will likely have to wear braces for a much shorter period.