MYOFUNCTIONAL
& ORAL HEALTH
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Improving the Quality of Your Child’s Life

Fair Lakes Family and Cosmetic Dentistry believes that optimal oral health begins with the proper function of your orofacial muscles. The muscles in the face, mouth and tongue work in coordination to help you swallow, chew, speak and articulate words as well as keep your breathing focused, in and out, through your nostrils. Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy (OMT) addresses any weakness in one or more of these muscle systems that may be causing a multitude of health problems in children and adults including sleep apnea. Muscle strength and coordination is the key to proper swallowing, speech development and getting good quality sleep.   

Myofunctional and Oral Health Fairfax, VA

What is an Oral Myofunctional Disorder (OMD)?

An oral myofunctional disorder is when the muscles in the mouth and face are underdeveloped or lack tone impacting your child’s ability to articulate speech, swallow properly, keep mouth closed at rest and sleep with mouth closed. How do I know if my child has symptoms of an OMD? Some common symptoms of OMDs include:

  • Weak lower lip
  • Mouth breathing both at night and during the day
  • Open mouth posture – tendency for lower jaw to hang open
  • Limited tongue movement
  • Speech delay or difficulty
  • Drooling beyond the age of two
  • Snoring
  • Open bites and overbites

Children who use a pacifier or suck their thumb are more likely to have an OMD as these habits can change the shape of the mouth and dentition and weaken muscles in and around the face. Diagnosing and treating an oral myofunctional disorder early will have lifelong benefits for your child’s overall health and dental development.

What is Myofunctional Therapy?

Young children, teenagers and adult patients can benefit from exercises designed to strengthen the tongue muscles and the muscles in the face. It is important that these muscle systems work together to function properly improving breathing, swallowing and overall health. Myofunctional therapy aims to retrain the muscles of the mouth and face to manage and potentially cure the symptoms of:

  • Speech difficulties in children
  • Chronic open mouth posture
  • Mouth breathing during sleep causing mild to moderate sleep apnea
  • Chewing with lips open

It’s all about tongue position! Did you know that without the proper tongue position (resting on the roof of the mouth at rest), orthodontic treatment will have less long term success?

Dr. Tran Uses
Three Tools To Help!

Fair Lakes Family and Cosmetic Dentistry located in Fairfax, VA employs several tools to improve orofacial myofunctional health. However, they are just tools. The results you get depend on the skill level of the dentist and team and your compliance. Restoring myofunctional health does require a commitment to the exercises prescribed by your dentist. If you are a parent and are concerned if your child may exhibit signs of an OMD such as speech difficulty or chronic open mouth posture, we offer myofunctional tools that can help retrain facial and oral muscles.

Dr. Tran Fair Lakes Dentist Northern Virginia

1

Myobrace®

Using a series of removable oral appliances that are designed to grow with your child, the Myobrace® System will gently guide teeth into their proper position. Myobrace® System works best for children ages 3-15 and can even help eliminate future orthodontic treatment. Treatment using the Myobrace® System will:

  • Correct poor oral habits such as pacifier use and thumb sucking
  • Develop and align jaws
  • Retrain mouth breathers into nose breathers for better sleep
  • Straighten teeth
  • Optimize facial development
  • Keep lips together by retraining jaws to work together
  • Improve overall health
LEARN MORE ABOUT MYOBRACE®

2

HealthyStart™ System

Is your child getting proper rest and good quality sleep? Sleep disordered breathing can often be overlooked, misdiagnosed and even untreated. Some symptoms of sleep disordered breathing in children include: snoring, grinding teeth, ADD/ADHD, poor performance in school, bedwetting, swollen tonsils or adenoids and irritability.

The HealthyStart™ System is a device that directly addresses childhood sleep apnea, one of the biggest side effects of an orofacial myofunctional disorder or OMD. Fair Lakes Family and Cosmetic Dentistry is pleased to offer a noninvasive orthodontic appliance that rests in the upper arch during sleep to help keep your child’s airway open. The HealthyStart™ System also guides dentition reducing and possibly eliminating the need for braces in teen years.

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3

Myo Munchee

Did you know that the way a child uses his mouth can affect their sleep as well as his growth? Training orofacial muscles early in childhood promotes optimal facial growth, alignment and development as well as nasal breathing. An excellent tool for training facial and oral muscles in younger children, the Myo Munchee® is a removable silicone appliance that children can use actively or passively. When used passively, the appliance rests in the mouth for a certain time period which increases throughout the treatment. Active use of the Myo Munchee requires that children chew on the appliance to strengthen and tone the muscles of the face and lips. The Myo Munchee is a great tool for our younger patients and we encourage you to call today to learn more (703) 273-4505.

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