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What does Oral Myofunctional Therapy Offer Jaw Surgery Patients?

The main goal of Myofunctional Therapy for patients undergoing orthognathic surgery or jaw surgery is to restore normal function and to obtain muscular static and dynamic equilibrium. A successful stable outcome from the surgical, orthodontic, and myofunctional treatments has a great impact on the patient's psychological well-being and function of the jaw.

Surgeons and Dentists typically consider the bones and their relationship to each other. They tend to focus on the occlusion and facial harmony and tend to disregard the soft tissue or the facial and swallowing muscles. Little attention has been made to the functional aspects of these skeletal abnormalities.

Bones are active entities and respond to forces exerted upon them especially from muscle patterns. If there are atypical muscle patterns before and after surgery, they continue to impact the bones after surgery if not corrected. If the patient has hypotonic lips and a tongue thrust before surgery these conditions will persist after surgery. The anatomical harmony of the face will improve function, but it will not solve the problem completely. Your new face will also need new muscle patterns. The atypical muscle patterns led you to the surgery and can lead to relapse after surgery if not corrected.

The success of Jaw Surgery is related to the function of the muscle of the jaw and the masticatory system. Myofunctional Therapy should always be coordinated with orthodontic and surgical treatment plans.

Myofunctional Therapy is divided into three phases of the orthognathic surgery process:

  1. Before Surgery

  2. During Intermaxillary Fixation

  3. After Intermaxillary Release

Before Surgery

This begins one or two months before surgery. Evaluation and understanding of the soft tissue, mastication and swallowing, breathing patterns is an important element to the surgical plan. Some surgical techniques may be altered based on the physiology of the muscles of the jaw and swallow function. The goal of treatment during this stage is to eliminate the patterns that got you to jaw surgery in the first place, negative oral habits, and acquire the necessary muscular tonus for nasal breathing patterns.

During Intermaxillary Fixation

During this stage, we focus on improving mobility and sensation. After surgery, there is usually a reduction of sensitivity due to swelling and microlesions of the nerves. This stage is important because the previous body image and mobility are limited. Therapy during this stage will increase proprioception, exteroception, and mobility of oral muscles for swallowing and breathing.

After Intermaxillary Release

After a release of prolonged fixation, there is limited mouth opening or locked Jaw. Treatment will focus on the range of motion, chewing, mastication, introducing various food consistencies, and speech if needed. During this stage typically the patient lacks the necessary jaw strength to chew because the maxillomandibular relationship is altered. The final part of this phase in treatment is automatization of the new swallowing pattern, establishment of nasal breathing pattern, and speech patterns if impacted.

Myofunctional Therapy adds a new dimension to Jaw Surgery. The main goal is to restore muscle function of the jaw and the masticatory and swallow process. At TASL Speech Therapy Consultants we specialize in oral myofunctional disorders that impact the jaw, swallowing, speech, and respiration. Our expert-level therapists will provide you uncompromising evidence-based treatment to ensure harmony between your new face and muscle patterns.

Schedule a free consultation with one of our expert-level therapists.


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