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Oral Myology and Orthodontics

Did you know that many orthodontic problems like malocclusion or crowding are a result of functional issues? For example, a tongue at rest is supposed to be pressing up against the roof of the mouth. If that’s not the case, the upper jaw can’t grow as it should. It will become underdeveloped and you get crowding in the upper arch. Child showing dental xray

The following can all affect the healthy development of the jaw structure:

• Tongue swallowing patterns
• Breathing
• Chewing patterns

Retraining Functional Habits

To address functional issues, we partner with oral myologist Leanne Batley. She looks at patients’ mouths to determine if there are any problems present. Then she will provide targeted exercises that a child or adult can do to retrain those functional habits. The goal is to achieve a balanced and normal functional pattern. When that pattern normalises the orthodontic treatment can progress more smoothly. Younger children who may not be ready for orthodontic treatment can benefit by having functional issues addressed first through a myology programme.

As part of the exercises, we will provide patients with a small gel dot that sticks to the roof of the mouth behind the front teeth. It’s a reference point that the tongue has somewhere to go. Then after a few months of that, the tongue will automatically stay there. Patients only need to spend about 10 minutes twice a day to do the exercises. Leanne will review the patient’s monthly and provide additional exercises if necessary. It usually takes about six months to retrain the tongue into the proper rest position.

We’ve also found that a big reason why orthodontic patients experience relapse at the end of treatment is that the functional issues weren’t addressed first. Functional problems can result in teeth shifting out of alignment.

Addressing Breathing and Other Issues

If you’re not predominantly breathing through your nose that affects the normal growth and development of the jaw structure. We also partner with an ear, nose and throat specialist to see if there are any issues causing nasal obstruction that aren’t allowing people to breathe through their nose properly. These issues could be allergies, large tonsils or adenoids. TMJ, snoring and sleep disturbances are also issues that we can address.

If you’re considering braces, we provide complimentary consultations. We can also let you know if an oral myology programme could benefit you. Contact Vision Dental today!

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