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3 reasons Myofunctional Therapy is Important Prior to Denture Construction

Updated: Aug 1, 2021

Oral Myofunctional Therapy for denture patients involves training of the orofacial musculature, including modification of habits that are detrimental to the stability and proper functioning of the prosthesis. This therapy helps patients to assume some responsibility in treatment and provides an oral environment in which a prosthesis can be worn comfortably.

Denture patients fall into two groups; those who are successful in using their dentures and those who are not. Patients who have dentures or prosthetics can benefit from Myofunctional Therapy who have a history that reveals:

  • Dentures that loosen during speech or chewing/swallowing,

  • Temporomandibular joint pain

  • An inordinate number of unsatisfactory dentures made over a short time

Myofunctional Therapy improves in candidates with dentures or prosthetics:

  • Posture and Function of the remaining tongue and Increases stability of the mandibular denture.

  • Provides acceptable mastication and swallowing

  • Improves airway and respiration function

1. Improvement of posture and function of the remaining tongue and stability of the mandibular denture

It has long been an accepted fact that the tongue plays an important role in stabilizing mandibular dentures. Any abnormalities of the function of the tongue will jeopardize the success of the dentures. The tongue has a normal and a retracted position in relation to the teeth, and if the retracted position is unfavorable it will impact the stability in mandibular dentures. The tongue must engage in the normal physiologic acts of speech, mastication, and deglutition and at the same time help stabilize the complete denture.

2. Provides Acceptable Mastication and Swallowing

Dentures or implants can reduce sensation in the oral cavity, and sensory input (i.e. taste) plays an important role in the normal control of voluntary swallow. If a denture is too big or ill-fitting it causes jaw instability and extraneous tongue movement to keep the denture in place. Improper denture wearing increases swallowing difficulties by causing changes in tongue movements and swallowing patterns. Atypical swallowing has been defined as an oral dysfunction that occurs when the correct swallowing maturation does not take place and the typical characteristics of infantile swallowing such as tongue thrust in adulthood. Swallowing is one of the few parts of the digestive process that begins under our conscious control. It is something we do many times throughout the day, yet we don’t tend to give it much thought unless it stops working properly. In a healthy individual, swallowing involves a complex coordination of several muscles that ensure the food we eat makes it to the stomach.

Oropharyngeal dysphagia usually results from a problem in the mouth (oral cavity) or the throat area between the mouth and esophagus (pharynx). In esophageal dysphagia, the cause is usually related to the esophagus or upper stomach (gastric cardia).

3. Improves airway and respiration function

Impaired nasal breathing may hamper your ability to be physically active and may make walking, climbing stairs, and even sleeping difficult. Speech and swallowing can also be affected. At TASL Speech Therapy Consultants we incorporate Respiratory muscle training (RMT) training which strengthens your respiratory muscles and upper airway and improves your ability to perform daily activities. It can also help improve speaking, singing, swallowing, and coughing, which use related muscles.

Myofunctional Therapy refers to an individualized program of exercises designed to strengthen and retrain the tongue and oral-facial muscles for swallowing, airway, and speech in patients with dentures and prosthetics. This approach enables a Dentist or Prosthodontist to determine what his patients are doing to dislodge their dentures and to show them what they can do about it.

Although Myofunctional Therapy in itself is relatively simple, it must be intensive over a long period of time, usually around 12 months. Unconscious habits cannot be changed overnight. Muscle exercises were devised to improve the posture and muscular tonus of the remaining tongue, and thus help with mastication and adaptation to the mandibular denture.

Past failures in therapy are due to the naïve idea that behavior modification can be done quickly. Accountability and consistency are critical to change behaviors. TASL Speech Therapy Consultants provides our clients with the utmost accountability factors with our treatment kits and home exercise app.

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