Articles - Myofunctional Orthodontics
This is the branch of Orthodontics that logically addresses the cause of crooked teeth and unbalanced jaws. It involves correcting bad habits and re-training good ones for both correction and stability
Oral Myology or Orofacial Myology is the science involving the muscles of the mouth. This includes muscles in the tongue, the throat, the lips and cheeks, the face and neck, as well as the muscle attachments such as tendons and the frenums (the stringy bits under your tongue and lips).
Treatment usually involves diagnosing a problem and training and exercises to develop ideal oral posture. This is usually the cause of crooked teeth and the reason straightened teeth relapse after orthodontic correction. Therefore it can be a vital part of any orthopaedic or orthodontic treatment.
One example is a "tongue-tie" or short lingual frenum. This restricts the ability of the tongue to rest on the palate (which it should), and then the upper dental arch becomes too narrow and crowding occurs. Sometimes it can also effect the way the lower jaw grows, it can grow downwards at a steep angle, creating a long face with the chin too close to the neck.
The most common problems that we treat are mouth-breathing, tongue-thrusting and thumb-sucking.
In adults undiagnosed problems such as a tongue-tie can lead to chronic pain. We have included 2 examples.
The Buteyko breathing technique is a proven system for better breathing, many aspects of which we employ for better health and orthodontic stability.
Why Mouth-breathing is bad
Breathing through your mouth, rather than through your nose, causes many health problems
Why are Tonsils (and Adenoids) often enlarged
Chronically swollen tonsils (and adenoids - which are a similar lymph tissue), block off the airway from nasal breathing. This means you, or your child, may have to breathe through the mouth - leading to many problems including a small upper jaw and crowded teeth
A Tongue Thrust is an abnormal movement of the tongue - usually when swallowing or speaking - which leads to an incorrect bite. It will happen hundreds or even thousands of times every day. The 'Thrust' can be at the front, or on either or both sides.
A Tongue-tie is a tongue whose movement is restricted by a shortened lingual frenum. Other frenums can also cause problems such as the labial frenum (between the teeth and the lips) and all can be improved with a simple treatment.
A U.S. study showed that every single child in their study with a tongue-tie, had sleep disordered breathing, which in itself can lead to mutiple health and behaviour problems.
Lip Licking Dermatitis is a result of people, especially children, chronically poking their tongue out and moistening their dry lips. It can be mainly on one lip or on both the upper and lower lips, and is more common in cold and dry weather. It is a rather obvious symptom of mouth rather than nose breathing.