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How Myofunctional Therapy Can Improve Open Bites

Myofunctional Therapy with Orthodontic Treatment can dramatically close and maintain open bites with a reduction in relapse. Most open-bite relapse occurs during the first 5 years.

Patients with an anterior open bite where the top and bottom teeth do not overlap have forward tongue rest posture and tongue thrust swallow and at times an anterior lisp. A tongue thrust swallow is an atypical swallow pattern that if the tongue is resting against the front teeth when we swallow, it pushes forward. This forward motion then will cause the teeth to move. As this swallowing pattern is repeated consistently the position of the tongue will cause the teeth to grow crooked.

Orthodontists are in agreement that patients with anterior open bites are challenging to treat and relapse is common after treatment with orthodontics alone or combined with jaw surgery. Etiologic factors generally cited in the literature include vertical maxillary excess, skeletal pattern, abnormalities in dental eruption, and tongue-thrust problems. The tongue position is the reason for difficulty and achieving long-term closure of the anterior open bite.

According to a study in the Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics 2010, Myofuntional Therapy with orthodontic treatment was efficacious in closing and maintaining closure of dental open bites in Angle Class I and Class II malocclusions. It also dramatically reduced the relapse of patients with open bites. A key finding in this study is relapse was significantly less with orthodontics and Myofunctional Therapy (0.8 mm of relapse) compared to relapse with orthodontic treatment alone (3.5 mm of relapse).

Correcting low forward tongue posture and tongue thrust swallows minimized the risk of:

  1. Orthodontic relapse.

  2. Speech errors and oral habits were associated with relapse but were often correctable with OMT.

  3. Re-educate swallowing patterns

  4. Improve airway and sleep

Tongue rest posture could be more important than swallow patterns in dental open-bite patients. The findings in the study by Smithpeter and Covell 2010, indicate that patients with anterior open bites accompanied by oral habits, speech errors, tongue thrust, and low forward tongue rest posture have a major risk for relapse after orthodontic treatment if these characteristics are not altered before removal of the orthodontic appliances.

AT TASL Consultants, we address these oral habits, tongue resting posture, airway, speech, and swallowing patterns that impact your open bite. Prevent orthodontic relapse at TASL Speech Therapy Consultants.

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