At Park City Dental, we are committed to the health of each of our patients. By promoting optimal oral health, we have a direct impact on overall systemic health and research shows that the tongue plays a huge part in that! During proper development, the tongue is responsible for stimulating the growth of both the upper and lower dental arches, as a result, the sinus cavity and airway are also developed correctly. Your tongue is the most flexible muscle of the airway, if left unproperly trained, it can result in a multitude of health issues. The tongue is an important organ responsible for breastfeeding, chewing, swallowing, speech, and craniofacial development, and our clinicians have the training and the knowledge to identify and help address any orofacial myofunctional disorders!
With myofunctional therapy, we focus on treating and correcting the underlying cause, not just the symptoms!
What is MYO?
Orofacial Myofunction Therapy, or MYO for short, is a neurological reeducation program that helps restore proper function to the muscles of the face, mouth, and neck. Similar to physical therapy, patients will be guided through various exercises and stretches. This therapy aims to address and correct orofacial myofunctional disorders by focusing on four goals: nasal breathing, lip seal, proper tongue resting position and correct swallowing pattern.
Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders (OMDs) are disorders of the muscles and functions of the face and mouth. OMDs may affect, breastfeeding, facial skeletal growth and development, chewing, swallowing, speech, occlusion, temporomandibular joint movement, stability of orthodontic treatment, facial esthetics, and more.
Dental Problems Related to OMD’s
Incorrect Tongue or Lip Resting Position
The tongue is comprised of multiple muscles, when these muscles work together, the tongue can apply as much as 500grams of pressure. If the tongue is not sitting in the correct resting position, these pressures are applied to the teeth resulting in the incorrect alignment and function of teeth.
Thumb or Finger Sucking
Because the tongue is such a powerful muscle, the placement of its pressure will alter the shape of our dental arches. When a foreign object (finger or thumb) is introduced to the mouth, the pressure of suction and placement of the tongue change the form of the mouth to fit the object.
During a proper swallowing pattern, the tongue is positioned on the roof of the mouth. During an incorrect swallowing pattern, the tongue is positioned on the teeth, gradually altering their alignment overtime. This is called a tongue thrust. Tongue thrusting can lead to open bite, crossbite and digestive issues.
The position of the tongue is essential to proper articulation. If muscle tone or coordination of the tongue and lips are poor, even the simplest sound can be difficult to pronounce.
Sleep Disordered Breathing
Muscles of the tongue and throat influence the airway space. If these muscles are not functioning correctly during waking hours, tissues become further relaxed during sleep leading to snoring, altered breath and in severe cases, obstruction of oxygen flow altogether.
Mild/Mod Obstructive Sleep Apnea
There are several types of sleep apnea, but the most common is obstructive sleep apnea. This type of apnea occurs when your throat muscles intermittently relax and block your airway during sleep. Obstructive sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder. It causes breathing to repeatedly stop and start during sleep leading to decreased oxygen saturation in vital organs like your heart and brain.
Meet Our Therapist
Stormi Lamar, RDH, BSDH
After graduating from Wichita State University with a Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene, Stormi pursued further studies with the Academy of Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy. During this time, she learned about orofacial dysfunctions and their effect on the entire body. With her continued education, Stormi became passionate in sharing her increased knowledge of the impact that oral health has on systemic health. Stormi loves working one on one with her patients, creating awareness, addressing, and correcting parafunctional habits and leading the journey to increased quality of life. When Stormi is not educating and working with her patients, she enjoys spending time with her husband, Thomas, and two dogs.
Mouth breathing video by Dr. German Ramirez-Yanez
Effects of Thumb Sucking
-American Journal of Orthodontics. Malfunction of the tongue part III.
-Harvard Magazine. Daniel Lieberman tracks the evolution of the human head. By Jonathan Shaw.
-American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Guideline on management of the developing dentition and occlusion in pediatric dentistry.
– National Library of Medicine. Effects of Oropharyngeal Exercises on Patients with Moderate Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome.