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bigstock-stopthumbsucking1An Oral Myofunctional disorder includes a variety of habit patterns, postures and functional activities that open the dental bite beyond a normal resting or functional range. This can include such things as thumb and /or finger sucking; a mouth-open posture with  lips apart; a forward posture rest of the tongue; and  thrusting of the tongue during speech and swallowing.

Orofacial myology evaluates and treats these oral and facial (orofacial) and muscle (myo-) postural and functional disorders. It also treats habit patterns that may disrupt normal dental development and contribute to cosmetic problems.  Most dental treatments focus primarily on providing health and stability when the teeth are in contact (bite)- Myofunctional therapy focuses on treating patterns and postures when teeth are apart, which is over 95% of the day and all the night.

Causes of Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders are varied and mostly involve a combination of the following factors:
  • An airway restriction
  • Thumb and/or finger sucking
  • Cheek and /or lip biting
  • Nail biting
  • Teeth Clenching and /or  Teeth Grinding
  • Tongue tie
  • Abnormally large tongue or abnormally small jaw
  • Neurological and sensory-neural development delays or abnormalities such as Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Bell’s Palsy and stroke
  • A hereditary predisposition to any of the above factors.

Orofacial Myofunctional disorders can have a negative effect on the growth and development of the dentition and also craniofacial bones. Dental eruption patterns and alignments become disrupted. Speech articulation patterns become distorted. The temporomandibular joint  ( TMJ ) becomes impaired and / or damaged from the abnormal patterns.

Myofunctional Therapy often restores  the normal process of craniofacial and dental development.  It can also aid in the retention process following orthodontic treatment.  In addition, therapy that is co-ordinated with  dental and orthodontics enhances and maintains dental health for a lifetime of benefits.

The programme we run at Sandie Earl Dental involves a series of individualised exercises designed to repattern oral and facial muscles. This system of exercises are used to correct tongue and lip resting postures, as well as develop and re-establish correct chewing and swallowing patterns. They are also designed to eliminate habits such as prolonged use of pacifiers/dummies, thumb / finger sucking, cheek and lip biting.

Adults, teenagers and children as young as four (4) years of age can benefit from our programme starting with in-office evaluation. This evaluation considers thing such as:

  • Physical and emotional maturity
  • Physical ability to complete the exercises
  • Airway and Breathing patterns
  • The need for referral to ENT ( Ear, Nose, Throat) or other specialists prior to starting
  • The existing and forecast development of cranio-facial bones

The course duration is approximately 10 to 12 weeks dependant on individual co-operation, commitment and compliance.