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Myofunctional therapy

Children and adults of all ages can benefit!

What Is Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy?

Myofunctional therapy is an exercise-based program for your facial and oral structures. The therapy strengthens the muscles of the tongue, mouth, lips and face for growth and development: optimizing chewing, speaking, swallowing and breathing.  

Who needs myofunctional therapy?

Myofunctional dysfunctions are quite common, children and adults of all ages can benefit! When treating children, we prevent problems down the road in life, and with adults we work through and correct the symptoms of their myofunctional issues. Adults can get amazing results and make life-changing progress.

We recommend myofunctional therapy to our patients that have some of the following issues:

Tongue Tie or signs of tongue tie
Mouth Breathing

Tongue Thrust 

Nighttime Snoring or Sleep Apnea 

Thumb or Finger Sucking Habits 

Forward Head Posture 

Jaw/TMJ Pain 

Neck and Shoulder Tension 

Chronic Headaches 

Misaligned Bite or Crooked Teeth

Orthodontic Relapse  

Speech Issues 

Chewing/Swallowing Issues 

Digestive Issues 


Acid Reflux 

Picky Eating 

Difficulty Nursing 

Nailbiting/clothes chewing 


Clenching and Grinding 

The Four Goals of Myofunctional Therapy are:


Nasal Breathing Day and Night

The correct way to breathe. Long term mouth breathing is a bad habit that can narrow the dental arches, deviate the nasal septum and cause abnormal facial development. Nasal breathing filters the air we breathe, enhances memory and learning, lowers blood pressure, makes us feel more awake during the day and much more.


Lip Seal

Having the lips sealed at resting posture helps support the oral structures, forces nasal breathing, and reduces risk for cavities and gum infection.


Proper Tongue Posture

The proper positioning of the tongue is pressed at the roof of the mouth. A weak tongue will lay low in the mouth making it difficult to support and grow the upper jaw, teeth and facial structures. If the tongue lays low in the mouth it can fall back in the throat causing breathing problems like snoring, sleep apnea, narrow jaws and crooked teeth.


Proper Swallowing

A Tongue Thrust swallow pattern is a habit that can cause the teeth to shift and move. The tongue will push through the front teeth or in between the teeth and air may be swallowed causing digestive problems and may be associated with an “open bite.”

If you are going through orthodontics, myofunctional dysfunctions are a problem because:

  1. It can slow down your orthodontic treatment, keeping your braces on for a longer time. 
  2. It can make your teeth move again, even after your braces are taken off.
  3. It can make moving your teeth and closing spaces much more difficult for your orthodontist. When the muscles of your mouth and face are not in balance, solving orthodontic problems is much more challenging.

A Myofunctional Therapist (MFT) can be an instrumental figure in helping a patient learn to re-train the facial muscles and eliminate these bad habits.

MFTs are skilled at helping children and adults gain control over muscular habits, including those involved in a tongue thrust and mouth breathing. For children and adults who struggle with these habits, stopping the habit is not always easy. This is because all of the muscles of the face and mouth have been programmed over the course of many years. The person’s body does not know how to use the tongue and facial muscles correctly, and needs help.
A consultation with a MFT can be very valuable. If the muscles are not re-trained, your orthodontic treatment and final result may be compromised. Besides affecting orthodontic treatment, these dysfunctions have a lasting negative impact on a person’s general health, speech, dental health, swallowing and breathing throughout life.

About Aimee:

Aimee Till is a dental hygienist and a myofunctional therapist here at Brushin’ on Belmont. She graduated with honors from Southern Illinois University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Dental Hygiene in 2014 and has been a part of our team since 2016. Her myofunctional training is with MyoMentor by Sarah K. Hornsby and research founded by Dr. Zaghi of The Breathe Institute.