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WHAT IS MYOFUNCTIONAL THERAPY
The interaction between orofacial structural growth and muscle activity starts early in development, and the physiologic functions of suck, swallow, breath for infant feeding play an important role in stimulating subsequent growth. There are many orafacial growth milestones that infants through toddlers should reach for optimal growth and development. Meeting these milestones transitions into childhood and adulthood which can help someone live a healthy life.
The habits we develop young inevitably translate to behaviors we have for life. By training the muscles in the face and mouth to act in their natural way, muscle memory can keep the teeth and jaw in alignment as we grow and develop. This will help the face and head develop in the proper way which can lead to breathing and sleeping better, eating and swallowing properly, and sometimes this may even help minimize or eliminate future orthodontic treatments.
Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders (OMDs) affect the functions and muscles of the mouth and face. OMDs can cause a variety of effects either directly or indirectly, including problems breastfeeding, delayed facial skeletal growth and development, disordered chewing, swallowing, speech issues, crowded teeth, instability of orthodontic treatment, sleeping problems, and more. The tongue resting position is crucial in how the jaw grows and how we breathe. When we cannot breathe through our nose properly it can lead to issues of sleep disturbed breathing and sleep apnea.
Myofunctional therapy is a series of exercises done over several months that retrain dysfunctional behaviors and will help enable one to enjoy eating, speaking, breathing, and even sleeping more soundly. These changes can make a world of difference for a child and hopefully go into adulthood as a happier healthier person.
Do you notice any of these symptoms with your child?
Sometimes we as parents notice little things that may be different with our children but either we brush it off or hope that they will just outgrow it. It can weigh heavy on our mind and are not sure who we should ask. If you are still unsure then I am here to help. Here are some common problems that myofunctional therapy can help.
*Tongue Tie * Mouth Breathing *Open Mouth Posture
*Noisy/messy Chewing *Snoring *ADHD
*Tongue Thrusting *Thumb Sucking/Pacifier Use *Bed Wetting
*Orthodontic Relapse *Breastfeeding Problems *Tooth Grinding *Speech Difficulty *Chronic Ear Infections *Crowded Teeth
*TMJ Pain *Restless sleeping *Poor posture
Oral Wellness Program for
Infants and Toddlers
Most myofunctional therapy programs start at 4 years old when children have the cognitive ability to learn and do when it comes to exercises. There is, however, a gap from newborn to 3 years old when growth and development of the jaw and mouth is not monitored. This is the reason I began my journey into breastfeeding and lactation. I will use this knowledge to help families navigate the world of infant and toddler oral health. This oral wellness program starts with prenatal appointments to go over feeding plans and progresses after birth. Each appointment I will reassess your baby in terms of facial growth and mouth development, check for any signs of dysfunction and refer when needed, discuss any products that you may want to use and the effects, if any, those products may have on your baby's growth, and advise of growth milestones. My goal is to get this program into pediatric and dental offices so that all babies can be monitored and dysfunctions can be found early. I feel that this is crucial to growing healthy children and am excited to bring this program to the area.
Habit Elimination Program
My program is appropriate for children and teens. With this program I will work with your child to eliminate any noxious habit that may be affecting their oral growth and development. Thumb and finger sucking, pacifier use, and fingernail biting are examples of these habits that can alter the growth of the jaw and face. A series of exercises are assigned each week that should be performed daily or multiple times a day. For best results there needs to be a commitment to daily exercises until the habit is gone.
Myofunctional Therapy Program
This is the typical program for children 4 years and up. This program is comprehensive and covers a variety of oral problems. The goal of this program is to eliminate bad habits, develop proper lip seal and tongue placement and teach chewing and swallowing patterns to reinforce good habits. This program is designed especially with your child's needs in mind and can be from 6-12 months with some treatments lasting longer if orthodontics or frenectomy procedures are needed.
Infant and Toddler Oral Wellness Program
This program is set for newborns through age 3 when these little ones have the largest growth and development. It starts with prenatal appointments to set feeding plans then proceeds on past birth. I will help guide, educate, and give resources for all the products that encompass having a baby and toddler. All the while checking the oral growth and development as your child grows and which products can help or hinder that development.
I am now offering breastfeeding support. If you have questions or concerns about breastfeeding please contact me. I can do in person in my office or at your home. If you are having issues with breastfeeding and don't know where to turn I am here for you. As a Certified Breastfeeding Specialist I can assess you and your baby and make recommendations or referrals whichever is best for you.
My name is Tina Reece
I began my dental hygiene career in 1997 and in 2019 decided to expand my knowledge into Myofunctional therapy. I am also a certified breastfeeding specialist and hope to one day become a lactation consultant as well. I had a real interest in how powerful the tongue is to the growth and development of the face and jaw when my oldest son exhibited symptoms that were not normal for his age. I was saddened that his struggles may have been prevented if I had only known about the red flags that were present as an infant or been advised of these issues as he was growing. Myofunctional therapy has been around for many years but is coming into the forefront with more research into dysfunctions of the head, neck, and mouth. With therapies and programs we are helping these families earlier and giving these children the ability for a healthier life. I want to take the lessons I learned with my son, as well as, my advanced education and help other families. It takes a village is more than just a name. It really does take a village. I work with Pediatric Doctors, Dentists, ENT's, and much more. Myofunctional therapy is just a small piece of the puzzle and working with these specialties gives my clients the best results with the program.
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