Our very compliant patient's results after 6 months of wearing her myofunctional appliance.
Myofunctional therapy/myofunctional appliance wear is a minimally invasive, and more holistic approach to treating children with maloccolusion (misalignment of teeth like crowding or excessive spacing) in the dental office. It is used to treat patients who are mouth breathers, have a tongue thrust, thumb sucking habits, or other tongue or cheek muscle habits. These are known as incorrect myofunctional habits. A few symptoms of incorrect myofunctional habits are snoring and teeth grinding during sleep. Myofunctional therapy can be used to treat the cause of these symptoms.
A myofunctional appliance is an alternative to braces, which is less expensive, and less painful. More importantly, not only does this treatment straighten teeth, it also helps your child’s face develop to its full potential. This type of treatment is aimed to treat the cause of malocclusion and jaw development, rather than the symptoms (as traditional orthodontics do). While braces/Invisalign can straighten teeth, if the initial cause of the malocclusion is not addressed, the patient’s teeth will relapse back to their maloccclusion. The earlier a child begins treatment to address the causes of malocclusion, the better retention they will have of their straight teeth and the more successful their treatment will be.
A tell tale sign of incorrect myofunctional habits is the pediatric patient with bags under their eyes. This indicates a mid-face deficiency and lack of growth. The presence of under eye bags, or venous drainage, is due to the cheek bones failing to grow forward. They instead grow down and back, leading to a "long-face" appearance. This development also acts to narrow the airway, which leads to snoring and teeth grinding.
The earlier incorrect myofunctional habits are corrected, the less problems the patient will have later in life. By age 5, majority of children in the US will already show signs of malocclusion and the need for orthodontic treatment. By age 14, 90% of facial development is complete. Though orthodontics can still make the teeth look straight, it cannot significantly change the shape of the face as myofunctional therapy would.
Give our office a call to see if your child would be a good candidate for myofunctional therapy.
Dr. Mat and Dr. Jen will occasionally post cases or pictures from our office!