Myofunctional therapy, also called orofacial myofunctional therapy or myotherapy, is a common treatment for children who have trouble speaking, chewing, swallowing, or breathing.
Myofunctional therapy for sleep-disordered breathing problems involves exercises and behavioral changes to promote nasal breathing and better airflow during sleep. Using a variety of techniques, therapists can strengthen the tongue muscle, stabilize the jaw, repattern oral facial muscles, and improve oral resting posture (how the tongue, teeth, and lips rest during sleep).
Your sleep medicine specialist may recommend myofunctional therapy along with other treatments for snoring or obstructive sleep apnea. It’s also used to retrain muscles after skeletal surgery (maxillomandibular advancement) or frenuloplasty (used to treat tongue-tie, or when the strip of skin that connects the tongue to the floor of their mouth is shorter than usual.
Who is a Candidate?
Myofunctional therapy works best for children age six years and older with snoring and obstructive sleep apnea caused by mouth-breathing problems or misaligned teeth or jaws. It’s an option for both adults and children who want to avoid other treatments, such as continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), oral devices, medicines, or in some cases, sleep surgery.
Treatment success depends on the level of patient involvement. Patients must be active, motivated, and diligent in performing repetitive exercises regularly and making behavior modifications as instructed.
What to Expect
Myofunctional therapy is managed by a certified myofunctional therapist. At your first visit, the therapist will perform a complete evaluation and create a customized treatment plan. Treatment varies and can last a year or more, depending on the condition.
Myofunctional therapies that improve sleep-disordered breathing can include:
- Eliminating bad habits involving the tongue, lips, and jaws, such as tongue thrust or thumb-sucking
- Learning to breathe using the abdominal muscles, or a diaphragm
- Training the tongue to rest in certain places
- Exercising the tongue, such as tongue rolling or touching the nose and chin
- Teaching proper chewing and swallowing functions to repattern muscles
- Learning proper head positioning for better sleep
- Improving neck posture, especially while swallowing
Myofunctional therapy for sleep disorders typically involves three to six months of weekly sessions and at-home exercises with monthly follow-up visits to monitor progress.
Why Choose UHealth?
Expert myofunctional therapy services for children and adults. Myofunctional therapy is a specific treatment that requires certification and multispecialty knowledge about the structures in the mouth. Our therapist is highly qualified in sleep-disordered breathing problems in children and adults, and develops a treatment plan personalized to your needs.
Effective, efficient therapy timelines. Our myofunctional therapies for sleep-disordered breathing are effective and intensive, and often lasts a year or less. This helps keep you, or your child, engaged and interested.
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