The Science Behind Myofunctional Orthodontics
Explore Myofunctional Therapy
Early in dentistry’s history, practitioners noticed they could improve dental aesthetics by using mechanical devices to move teeth. This process also influenced the growth of bone in specific areas. The discovery laid the foundation for the field of orthodontics, which focuses on aligning teeth for aesthetic and functional purposes.
Myofunctional orthodontics is a specialized branch of orthodontics that focuses on addressing oral and facial muscle dysfunction to achieve optimal dental and craniofacial development.
Let’s learn about the mechanics and purpose behind myofunctional orthodontics, as well as its positive effects on oral health. Both patients and orthodontic professionals can gain a deeper and more informed perspective on this specialized field.
What is Myofunctional Orthodontics?
Myofunctional orthodontics aims to correct problems in the muscles of the mouth and face to promote dental and craniofacial growth. It distinguishes itself from traditional braces orthodontics by using myofunctional techniques to address the causes of crooked teeth, such as poor muscular habits.
Instead of relying on the constant pressure of a fixed bracket system, myofunctional orthodontics employs light intermittent forces to align the teeth. This innovative approach cultivates proper oral posture, optimizes tongue function, and enhances muscle coordination.
Myofunctional orthodontics also focuses on ensuring enough room in the upper jaw for the tongue to help people breathe through their noses with their lips closed.
Many orthodontics use myofunctional orthodontics because the systems create a well-aligned bite while fixing the issues that lead to malocclusion.
How Does Myofunctional Orthodontics Work?
Myofunctional orthodontics works through a structured approach that spans a patient’s lifetime, starting from infancy into adolescence and beyond. The primary goal is to detect and treat the underlying causes of orthodontic issues early on, aiming for prevention.
The treatment process is typically divided into phases tailored to the patient’s needs. Patients will receive temporary, removable intra-oral appliances that they’ll use for about one to two hours each day and overnight while sleeping. These appliances vary depending on the patient’s age and the type of orthodontic problem.
In addition to these appliances, there’s a strong emphasis on patient education. Patients are guided through a program that focuses on correcting poor myofunctional habits. This program also includes exercises to address breathing, strengthening tongue and facial muscles, swallowing, and lip and cheek coordination.
What Causes Malocclusion?
During a child’s early development, certain practices can trigger malocclusion, also known as teeth misalignment. Some detrimental habits include:
- Mouth breathing
- Thumb sucking
- Tongue thrusting
- Improper swallowing
Myofunctional orthodontics can fix these habits, correcting malocclusion and promoting better facial growth. Moreover, early intervention with myofunctional orthodontic techniques (especially between ages five and eight when kids grow the most) can set the stage for more stable traditional orthodontic treatment later on.
Recognizing the causes of a child’s malocclusion helps orthodontists meet the demand from parents seeking help for their kids. Professionals must inform parents that fixing teeth with braces alone gives short-term results unless they commit to long-term retainers, which can be either fixed or removable.
Myofunctional orthodontics stands out by addressing the root causes of malocclusion, not just its symptoms. As a result, it benefits patients and empowers parents to make informed choices about their children’s orthodontic treatment from the start.
How Do Patients Benefit from Myofunctional Orthodontics?
Better Respiratory Health
One key advantage of myofunctional therapy is patients who undergo this treatment often cease mouth breathing, reduce the risk of sleep-disordered breathing, and improve their respiratory health.
When air is inhaled through the nose, it undergoes filtration to remove particles like dust and allergens, and it is moistened to prevent drying of the respiratory passages. The filtration and humidification process helps reduce the likelihood of allergies and infections as it minimizes the entry of harmful particles and ensures the respiratory system remains hydrated and protected.
Breathing through the nose has also been associated with a lower risk of respiratory problems, sleep-disordered breathing, and improved overall respiratory function.
Corrected Swallowing Patterns
Incorrect swallowing patterns can hinder nutrition by causing inefficient chewing, which results in food being inadequately broken down for proper digestion. When food isn’t well-digested, nutrient absorption in the stomach and intestines is compromised, resulting in nutritional deficiencies. People with these habits may also avoid certain foods, limit their dietary choices, and risk imbalanced nutrition.
Myofunctional orthodontics fixes incorrect swallowing patterns and enhances nutritional habits, facilitating proper downward and forward facial growth and development. As a result, patients experience improved facial aesthetics and function.
Stable Maxillary Arch Development
Myofunctional therapy often results in the successful development of a stable upper jaw arch and the resolution of crowding in the lower front teeth. Traditional braces are often unnecessary in these cases, offering patients a more comfortable and aesthetically pleasing orthodontic experience.
For many patients, the need for permanent retainers is eliminated, simplifying their long-term orthodontic care.
Interested in Myofunctional Orthodontics?
We welcome you to consult with the specialists at Sunrise Orthodontics and Airway and Sleep Group for professional guidance on understanding and addressing the scientific aspects of myofunctional orthodontics. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us to schedule an appointment or gain further insights into this fascinating field.