Take a moment to watch this young boy's story.
Not only is this an aesthetic concern that can lead one to desire costly orthodontics or even plastic surgery, but if the jaws are too small, so too is the airway. This is why it is critical to address this in children while they are still developing. Correcting poor oral habits such as mouth breathing can change the trajectory of growth into a more pleasing appearance, better sleep quality and improved spacing for teeth to come in properly.
The literature shows us that up to 90% of people that have gone through traditional orthodontics will have some sort of relapse! (Little, R, et al Vol 93, Issue 5, American Journal of Orthodontics, May 1988.)
That is a lot of time, money and effort for it to be undone by your own habits.
Oral rest posture, breathing and swallowing all have an affect on how the jaw is developed and how it is supported. Patients tend to see less time in braces and better stability if they change their incorrect habits first. I love to partner with our local orthodontist's to give our patients the best smile possible!
This means that myofunctional therapy will have the most optimal results if done during this growth phase rather than later in life. The ideal time to start a therapy program is before the braces. 4-12 years old seems to be a great age for my patients to see really amazing success.
Jaws that aren't properly stimulated are too small which ends up meaning more complex orthodontic cases and longer time in braces.
Bad oral habits can slow down treatment as the muscles and the wires battle it out which means braces have to be worn longer.
Spaces are harder to close and teeth can be more difficult to align with puffy gums brought on by mouth breathing.
Braces are the absolute best for getting our teeth where we want them to be, but once those brackets are removed, patients with oral dysfunction will end up needing braces again, sometimes multiple times.
Many of my adult patients seek out myofunctional therapy after relapsing back to crowded/crooked teeth. They have already had braces, sometimes 2-3 times and are finding themselves with crowded/crooked teeth again. Their orthodontist may even tell them that they need to fix their tongue thrust first.
When excessive forces from the tongue are pushing on the teeth, eventually the tongue will win, and the teeth will move. I teach exercises that tame the tongue. As patients retrain their facial muscles, their breathing patterns and their oral habits, they gain control of their muscle function.
This has a lasting impact, not only on orthodontic stability, but speech, dental health and overall wellness.
Not only can this affect our mood, our relationships and our decision making, but can also contribute to other health concerns such as high blood pressure, stroke, dementia and diabetes and even put you at risk for early death.
Dalanna is a registered dental hygienist and Certified Specialist in Orofacial Myology. She has been practicing myofunctional therapy in Wichita since attending the Academy of Myofunctional Therapy in 2014. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from WSU in 2009 and has devoted her career to prevention as it relates to gum disease, orthodontics and sleep disordered breathing.
Dalanna has furthered her post grad studies in advanced courses that include topics of obstructive sleep apnea, temporomandibular joint disorder, frenulum inspection protocols and is certified in Functional Breathing Re-education through Buteyko International.
Being determined to be a life long learner, she has taken courses and workshops through the International Association of Orofacial Myology, American Academy of Physiological Medicine and Dentistry, International Affiliation of Tongue Tie Professionals, Academy of Applied Myofunctional Sciences, Academy of Myofunctional Therapy, Myo Modalities, Airway Circle, International Association of Airway Hygienists , Feed the Peds Myo Membership, Fast & Functional TMD and the Myofunctional Research Center.
In 2018, she became the first person in Kansas to receive the distinction of a Certified Specialist in Orofacial Myology through the graduate school of Behavioral Health Sciences in Cheyenne Wyoming.
She finds great joy in helping patients improve their quality of life by improving their oral habits and dysfunction. Her priority is prevention and education.
Dalanna is the owner and sole practitioner of Myofunctional Therapy of Kansas and treats patients throughout the US.