Abnormal muscle movement in the face, mouth, or throat may affect swallowing, speech, or breathing. Nicole Cavalea, MS, CCC-SLP, and the team at Strategies for Success in Los Gatos, California, offer myofunctional therapy to correct abnormal tongue and oral muscle movement, improving speech, swallowing, and breathing. To learn more about myofunctional therapy and how it can benefit you, call the office or schedule a consultation online today. Virtual visits are also available.
Myofunctional therapy is a treatment for orofacial myofunctional disorders (OMDs), which are disorders that cause abnormal patterning of the mouth and tongue. OMDs result in abnormal breathing patterns (breathing through the mouth instead of the nose), sleep-disordered breathing, feeding and swallowing dysfunction, articulation/speech delays, and orofacial pain.
These changes in orofacial muscle and function cause you to swallow incorrectly. Correct swallowing relies on the alignment and coordination of the tongue and muscles in the mouth and throat.
In order to swallow properly, the muscles and nerves in your mouth, tongue, and throat must work together, so the tip of the tongue presses against the roof of your mouth when swallowing. Incorrect swallow patterns result in misaligned muscle function. These patterns can cause TMD (temporomandibular dysfunction, misaligned teeth, tension headaches, and feeding and swallowing difficulties.
When you swallow incorrectly, the tip of the tongue presses against the back of the teeth or in between the teeth – that is called a tongue thrust. You swallow more than 500 times a day, and the constant pressure from the tongue on the teeth may push them out of position, causing an abnormal bite.
Myofunctional therapy aims to strengthen and retrain the orofacial muscles used for swallowing to improve resting posture (where your tongue sits in your mouth during everyday activities), precision and placement of sounds for speech, and correct breathing alignment.
Strategies for Success provides myofunctional therapy for children and adults with signs or symptoms of OMD. They may consider you a candidate for therapy if you have any of the following:
They also provide myofunctional therapy to eliminate oral habits (e.g., thumb sucking, open mouth resting and breathing posture, low and forward resting tongue, dental malocclusions, and tongue thrust.
Dentists and orthodontists are usually the first health professionals to notice abnormal patterning of the mouth and tongue.
Your provider at Strategies for Success conducts a thorough evaluation at your first visit so they can create your customized myofunctional therapy plan. They review your medical history, examine your oral structure, and orofacial muscle patterning and overall function.
Your myofunctional therapy plan will include an individualized program to strengthen and retrain the muscles involved in speech, resting/breathing postures, and swallowing to restore proper muscle patterns.
Most patients need 16-24 weeks of therapy, but the length of treatment may vary.
To learn more about myofunctional therapy at Strategies for Success, call or schedule a consultation online today.