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1536 John Sims Parkway Niceville, Florida 32578

Myofunctional Therapy - Niceville

Better Breathing Means Better Health

boy in sunflower field

Our Niceville dental office is proud to be the first in our area to offer myofunctional therapy to our family of patients. This exercise-based therapy trains the face, mouth, and tongue into patterns for proper breathing, speaking, chewing and swallowing.

What Exactly is Myofunctional Therapy?

Myofunctional therapy is like physical therapy for the muscles of the tongue, mouth, and face.  These exercises focus on four goals:

  • Nasal Breathing – breathing through the nose, not the mouth
  • Breathing with the Lips Closed
  • Tongue Posture – having the tongue on the roof of the mouth
  • Proper Swallowing Patterns

Improper patterns of behavior involving these four factors can lead to a number of different health problems, such as sleep apnea and snoring, upper airway resistance syndrome, TMJ pain, foggy brain, memory problems, and pain such as headaches, neck pain, and other facial pain.

It can also lead to tongue-tie, which is a condition that can appear at birth or may be missed if the tight tissue is located deeper in the mouth. With tongue-tie, the short membrane of tissue that connects the underside of the tongue to the floor of the mouth can restrict proper tongue posture. This can lead to swallowing issues and mouth breathing in childhood that can continue into adulthood. Myofunctional therapy is recommended prior to the release of a tongue tie and should follow the tongue release procedure to help strengthen and train the tongue muscles to function optimally to encourage nasal breathing, lip closure, tongue on roof of mouth at rest and proper swallowing pattern.

Myofunctional Therapy Can Help Kids AND Adults

When we’re looking at our littlest patients, we can treat patients ages five and older with therapeutic exercise sessions either in person or over Zoom, as well as options for specific appliance therapies such as Myobrace and Myomunchie. Believe it or not, airway disorders caused by improper swallowing, tongue posture and improper breathing can lead to serious health conditions in children, such as:

  • Bedwetting
  • Snoring
  • Thumb Sucking
  • and even false ADHD diagnoses.

If an adult cannot sleep with their mouth closed, then they cannot nasal breathe properly. Myofunctional therapy can help to improve tongue posture and improve sleep disordered breathing. You may also benefit from myofunctional therapy if you have a history of tongue thrust, have an anterior open bit, a high, narrow palate, or a history of airway concerns.

team doing facial exercisesHow Long Does Myofunctional Therapy Take?

Several members of the team at our dental office in Niceville are trained in myofunctional therapy with the IAOM and MyoMentor. First, these staff members would perform a one-hour myofunctional examination in order to asses whether or not myofunctional therapy would be a benefit to the patient. Treatments usually entail 12 therapy sessions (either in-office or via Zoom) over the course of three to four months. The patient’s overall health is always considered, so in the case of children, frenectomies and other methodologies may be discussed for a more thorough treatment. In adults, other sleep disordered breathing techniques may be suggested in conjunction with myofunctional therapy, as Dr. Ottesen is a Diplomate with the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine – the highest level of expertise bestowed upon dentists with specializations in dental sleep medicine.

Don’t wait – set up a consultation to see if myofunctional therapy could help you and your family breathe easier and enjoy life to the fullest.

Here are some frequently asked questions that we receive about myofunctional therapy, straight from instructor Sarah Hornsby at Faceology.

myofunctional infographic

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