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Myofunctional therapy

Uz izvēlni Diagnotika

    With the help of myofunctional therapy, the development and functions of the muscles of the lips, tongue, cheeks and face may be affected (breathing, breastfeeding, chewing, swallowing and speaking). It can be preventive therapy, diagnosis and treatment in situations, where these functions are disturbed or altered. Incorrect breathing stereotype - breathing through the mouth, is the most common reason for these disorders.

Symptoms that can be helped by myofunctional therapy:

  • Pain in the jaw, face;

  • Malocclusions;

  • Altered breathing - mouth breathing;

  • Altered chewing and swallowing associated with reduced muscle tone;

  • Sucking the thumb and other objects;

  • Sleeping disorders – apnea, snoring.

  • Tongue-tie;

  • Incorrect position of the tongue in the mouth;

  • Bruxism and clenching;

  • Muscle imbalance in the muscles of the face, mouth and throat;

  • Speech disorders.

    Myofunctional therapy uses exercises at the neurological level of ''retraining'' the body to function properly, thereby eliminating symptoms and improving impaired functions. The duration of the therapy depends on the complaints and the goal, but on average it lasts for 3-5 months.

At the first visit a patient assessment is performed, which includes:

  • Survey (interview) with questions about the infant period, eating, sleep, lifestyle, habits and other issues;

  • Objective measurements – mouth opening, assessment of tongue-tie, bite, facial symmetry, posture.

  • Assessment of functions – breathing, swallowing and chewing.

Photography and filming are done during the assessment.
After the assessment, an individual therapy plan is made, which consists of 6-8 exercises to be performed for one week.

    During the first two months, the visits are prescribed once a week. During the period, the exercises are changed and the previous week's work is evaluated. In the following months, the visit is once every 2-3 weeks. The first visit is held only in person, but weekly visits can be arranged remotely.


    Children under the age of 14 are asked to attend the class together with an adult who will monitor the performance of the exercises at home.

    The therapy method used in the clinic will be suitable for children from 4 years of age.

    Myofunctional therapy goes hand in hand with orthodontics, the best results are observed in this combination. If necessary, a physiotherapist, osteopath, allergist and nutritionist can also be involved.

Breathing through the mouth and its harmful effects.

    This is breathing when a person mostly inhales and exhales through the mouth rather than through the nose.
It affects the structures and functions of the face and mouth, affecting the quality of sleep, eating, ability to learn and hear and speech.
How can it be seen? The following factors may be found - open mouth at rest, frequent stuffy nose, dry lips, changes in lip color, visible enlarged tongue that may protrude forward, elongated face oval, altered posture with the head protruding forward, dark circles under the eyes , sunken cheeks, hissing and snoring.

    When breathing through the nose, the inhaled air in the nasal cavity is purified, warmed and moistened, thus cleaner air enters the lungs. When breathing through the mouth, these processes do not take place and the air enters the lungs unpurified.

The fact that the mouth is open at rest also affects many structures - the position of the lower jaw, the position of the tongue in the mouth. It affects the shape of the palate, the growth of facial bones, the position of the head, the musculature of the neck and upper body.

The most common reasons for breathing through the mouth are allergic rhinitis, sinusitis, bronchitis, enlarged tonsils and adenoids, reduced muscle tone in the muscles of the face and mouth, which promotes an open mouth position at rest. It is also affected by bad habits, for example - thumb sucking, as well as structural damage to the nasal bone.

How does mouth breathing affect facial and oral functions?

Breathing through the mouth while eating with the lips open all the time increases the speed of eating, making it louder and less efficient than eating with the lips closed. It can affect the digestive system, you can choke more often because breathing and chewing are not coordinated, and it also increases the amount of air swallowed. It is difficult to breathe through the mouth when there is food in it, so at this moment you have to choose - eat or breathe. Changes are also noticeable when swallowing a bite, often the tongue will appear at the moment of swallowing, muscle tension around the mouth can be observed, as well as head movements, helping the bite to enter the esophagus. There may be increased salivation. Indistinct pronunciation (sounds ''s'', ''z'') due to the fact that the tongue is often protruding forward and located between the teeth. 

Constantly keeping the mouth open can cause dry and chapped lips, short and fast breathing, muscle strength in the lips, tongue, jaw and cheeks decreases. This affects the position of the tongue, it will move forward more in the mouth, thus affecting facial aesthetics, teeth and bite. An elongated oval of the face is formed, the lower jaw moves backwards and the palate (''roof of the mouth'') becomes narrower and deeper.

What are the consequences of mouth breathing?

    Sleeping with an open mouth can cause the following consequences - disturbed sleep, snoring, headache, drooling, thirst upon waking, drowsiness in the morning, sleep
apnea (breathing disorders during sleep), reduced oxygen content in the blood.
Sleep disorders can cause anxiety, restlessness, reduced concentration. It affects
attention, memory and can cause learning disabilities in children. Children who
breathe through their mouth are more likely to suffer from running noses, various

throat infections and chronic ear infections. Hoarseness of the voice is often observed,
because when the mouth is constantly open, dryness occurs in the structures of the
vocal cords.

   Breathing through the mouth has a big impact on the posture, especially the position of the head. The head will move forward providing more free space for the airways to facilitate breathing, this will affect the position of the tongue, it will no longer be where it should be at rest. Other changes in posture are also found - reduced strength of the abdominal muscles and a tendency for the shoulders to move forward. Decreased appetite, decreased masticatory muscle strength, and difficulty swallowing may occur. Preference will be given to more liquid, softer foods, more often you will be thirsty, while eating. Appetite is also affected by the fact that the sense of smell and taste is often disturbed.

   With the help of myofunctional therapy, you can learn the correct breathing pattern - through the nose. This can be achieved by learning to engage the necessary muscles. Improve their function, strength and engagement through various exercises. It should be taken into account that the involvement of several specialists will most often be necessary - an allergist, a dermatologist, a physiotherapist.

metožu priekšrocības

What harm does thumb sucking and prolonged use of a pacifier do?

    These harmful habits, their intensity, frequency and duration can affect the growth and formation of the child's face, the relationship between the upper and lower teeth (an open bite can develop). They can contribute to problems with the muscles of the mouth and face, incorrect breathing stereotypes, disorders of chewing and swallowing, as well as pronunciation problems, that occur, when the tongue is in the wrong position.


    Myofunctional therapy can help break these unwanted habits, but the child must be aware of the problem and be willing to cooperate. Initially, there is a month-long rehabilitation program in cooperation with a myofunctional specialist, and then therapy begins, which mainly strengthens the muscles of the tongue and lips, as well as balancing functions such as breathing, chewing and swallowing.

What is temporomandibular (jaw) joint dysfunction?

    This term is used when the function of this joint is affected, as well as the muscles and other structures involved in chewing.

Dysfunction can be caused by various factors, such as changes in the teeth (missing or worn teeth, bad fitting prostheses/implant restaurations), chewing on one side, breathing through the mouth, trauma, degenerative changes in the joint, muscle overload (for example during stress) as well as harmful habits (nail grinding, often resting the head on the chin, bruxism and clenching).


The most common symptoms are pain in the jaw joint area, pain in the ear area, tinnitus, sound when closing/opening the mouth (cracking), pain or difficulty opening the mouth, pain when moving the lower jaw and the muscles involved in chewing.

Is chewing food on only one side harmful?

Chewing food on only one side emphasizes the muscle work on only one side. This can create facial asymmetry. The bite can be affected and the jaw joint on one side can become so overloaded that it results in pain.

Bite changes and their types.

Often, changes in the bite are provoked by the wrong position of the tongue in the mouth, bad habits - thumb sucking, pacifiers, enlarged tonsils, too long feeding a child with a bottle, night feeding with a bottle, tongue-tie, etc.


There are different types of altered bite - there may be malocclusions such as crowding, situations where the jaws do not fit together - the lower jaw or upper jaw may protrude too far forward or back, deep bite and open bite, when the teeth do not fit together.


The aim of myofunctional therapy in such situations is to change the position of the tongue in the mouth with the help of exercises, to reduce the muscle imbalance that has risen as a result of this situation, and to improve muscle function, stopping further changes in the bite. This therapy is often combined with orthodontic treatment.

Should myofunctional therapy be performed before or after orthodontic treatment?

Each situation must be evaluated separately. Therapy can be started before, in parallel and also after orthodontics. But most often both treatments are closely related, and a better result can be achieved when they take place parallely. Myofunctional therapy will help to achieve a balance in the work of the muscles and the functions they perform, it promotes the correct position of the tongue in the mouth and in this way stabilizes the achieved result in orthodontics, and avoids relapses.


Symptoms that may indicate a tongue-tie:

  • Difficulty breastfeeding;

  • Speech disorders;

  • Difficulty sticking the tongue over the lower teeth, touching the upper teeth and moving it sideways;

  • Changed shape of the tongue.

   A tongue-tie has different degrees, and depending on them the therapy is applied. There are cases, where it is possible to avoid surgical intervention, but if surgical treatment is required, for better results it is recommended to combine it with myofunctional therapy, which is started a month before the surgical procedure, in order to make the tissues more flexible and surgery then causes less discomfort. Therapy is continued immediately after the procedure, thus promoting tissue healing and faster recovery of full tongue movements.

Left untreated, it can lead to such disorders as difficulty in breastfeeding, chewing and swallowing, speech disorders, changes in the bite, poor oral hygiene (food remains stick between the teeth, causing damage to the teeth and gums).

Can myofunctional therapy help improve facial aesthetics?

   Wrinkles caused by facial expressions and habits are directly related to the work of the facial muscles. They can be caused by poor posture, habits, and repetitive motions involved in chewing, swallowing, breathing, and talking. The formation of grooves and wrinkles can be the result of too much muscle tension or their imbalance. With the help of myofunctional therapy, muscle work can be balanced, as well as functions, that have resulted in changes in facial features can be improved.

Myofunctional therapy and snoring.

    Snoring is defined as a partial obstruction of the upper airway, a narrowing during sleep, resulting in sounds and vibrations from relaxed mouth and throat muscles. Constant vibration affects the muscles of the throat and mouth, they become larger, both in terms of size and thickness. This can lead to complete or partial obstruction during sleep. Obstructive sleep apnea is a syndrome defined as airway obstruction during sleep. Under the supervision of a myofunctional specialist, specific exercises can be performed, as a result of which the muscles of the throat and mouth are strengthened, preventing them from sliding down during sleep and causing obstruction in the airways.

The importance of breastfeeding in child development.

Feeding the baby stimulates the muscles of the face and mouth, which contribute to the proper growth of the facial bones and the formation of the shape of the face. Despite the nutritional and immunological benefits, breastfeeding contributes to the proper functioning of oral and facial structures. Breastfeeding strengthens the infant's facial and mouth muscles, reducing the risk of later exposure to breathing, chewing, swallowing and language development disorders. There are infants who have difficulty breastfeeding, this may be due to a reduced reflex, that reduces power, a shortened tongue-tie, reduced coordination between feedings, swallowing and breathing, incorrect mother or infant feeding position, difficulty closing the lips around the nipple, incorrect (inadequate) tongue and jaw movements during breastfeeding. 

Breastfeeding serves as a foundation for the development of good speech skills. If there are breastfeeding problems, then you need the help of a lactation consultant as soon as possible.

Why do children prefer to eat soft food?

    This choice is often associated with reduced muscle strength in the muscles of mastication. Children choose foods with a consistency that requires little or no chewing. Feeding children as soon as possible with food of different consistency stimulates the strength of the muscles of the face and mouth and the harmonious development of the face.


The correct position of the tongue, breastfeeding during the infant period and chewing during the young child's age are the main factors that contribute to the proper growth and development of the facial bones.


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