How Dentists, Orthodontists, and Myofunctional Therapists Can Work Together
Updated: May 12
Dentists and orthodontists are concerned with the effects of the tongue and facial muscles on the occlusion (how teeth fit together) of teeth because of the evidence proving that too much tongue pressure against the teeth on the inside and an unequal amount of facial muscle pressure from the outside.
Often braces, aligners, expanders (aka appliances) are placed without addressing these underlying issues. What often happens is that as soon as the appliances come off, the teeth begin to move back to the starting point because the underlying cause of the movement was not addressed.
Tongue thrust is also called "reverse" or "immature" swallow. It is an orofacial muscular imbalance, a human behavioral pattern in which the tongue protrudes through the anterior incisors during swallowing speech and while the tongue is at rest. The resting posture of the tongue and facial muscles play an even more vital role: If the tongue is constantly resting against the front teeth and the upper lip is short or weak and flabby, the front teeth will be pushed forward.
Many people who are planning to have orthodontic treatment or who have had orthodontic treatment failed to realize or are explained that having a new bite with your muscles using the old patterns of swallowing and speech can cause relapse. Myofunctional therapy gets your muscles of swallowing and speech to repattern itself to the new bite, therefore preventing orthodontic relapse and other long term related issues.
Tongue thrust is a highly treatable condition. A full recovery can be made if you commit to attending the appropriate therapy sessions such as Myofunctional Therapy and address the other underlying health conditions that contribute to your tongue thrusting.
Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders you may see in your practice include:
Tongue Thrust/Reverse Swallow
Grinding/Clenching of Teeth, TMJ Issues
Open Mouth Breathing
Lingual Scalloping, Sleep Problems/Sleep apnea, Swallowing and Digestive Problems
Structural Abnormalities - Short Lingual Frenum, Enlarged Tonsils, Torus, Clefts
Speech Sound Errors
Oral Habits - Thumb sucking, Finger sucking, Nail Biting
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