Can chewing on only one side be harmful?

Yes it is. By chewing only on one side, only the muscles of one side of the face are developed. This can cause a facial asymmetry over time. In addition, the bite can be altered and the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) may suffer an overload.

What can cause an open bite?

An open bite corresponds to a problem with occlusion caused by multiple factors such as harmful habits (such as finger sucking or bottle or pacifier use) as well as the presence of functional disorders (such as mouth breathing and poor position of the tongue during chewing/swallowing and/or speech).

Should Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy occur before or after orthodontic treatment?

Orthodontic and Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy can be closely integrated with each directly impacting the other. Each case must be collaboratively analyzed and discussed by the professionals involved. Treatment may be indicated before, during, and or after orthodontics. Orofacial Myofunctional Therapists promote a balance of the muscle and orofacial functions, improving the oral rest posture of the tongue and thus stabilizing cases treated by orthodontists by helping diminish orthodontic relapse after the removal of braces.

What is Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction?

The term Temporomandibular Dysfunction (TMD) is used to define problems that can affect the temporomandibular jaw joint (TMJ), as well as muscles and structures involved in chewing and swallowing.

What causes Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction?

TMD may be related to various factors such as dental changes (loss or wear of the teeth), unilateral chewing, mouth breathing, lesions due to trauma or degeneration of the TMJ, muscle strains caused by psychological factors (stress and anxiety) and poor habits (nail biting, biting objects, resting a hand on the chin, grinding or clenching teeth during sleep).

What are the main signs & symptoms of TMD?

Pain may be present around the TMJ (it may radiate to the head and neck), along with possible earache, tinnitus, ear fullness, sounds when opening or closing the mouth (popping or other noises in the TMJ), pain or difficulties when opening the mouth, and pain when moving the jaw and the muscles involved in chewing.

How is Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy utilized for patients with TMD?

Most cases of TMD should be treated by a team of allied health professionals such as an Orofacial Myofunctional Therapist, dentist, otolaryngologist/ENT, physical therapist, neurologist and/or psychologist. The OMT, after conducting a thorough assessment, working in an collaborative approach, may suggest techniques to rebalance the muscles of the mouth, face and neck, and restore the functions of improved breathing, chewing and swallowing. With this, there may be attenuation and/or elimination of the signs and symptoms of TMJD.

What is the relationship between OMT and facial aesthetics?

As a positive side affect, OMT may decrease wrinkles and marks caused by aging, facial expressions and habits that are directly linked to the function of the muscles of the face, that may improve with Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy.

What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

Obstructive Sleep Apnea can be defined as an obstruction of the airway during sleep.

How could OMT help with snoring?

Snoring, Sleep Disordered Breathing, UARS and Obstructive Sleep Apnea should be treated by a multidisciplinary team, including a sleep specialist. On this team, the Orofacial Myofunctional Therapist may help by directing specific exercises to strengthen the muscles of the mouth and throat.

What is mouth breathing?

Mouth breathing refers to breathing predominantly through the mouth. In this way of breathing, the individual does not use, or uses very little, the nose to inhale and exhale air. Several health symptoms and developmental issues may occur from mouth breathing. Mouth breathing does not experience the advantages of Nasal breathing. Nasal breathing benefits by filtering the air, humidifying the air, warming the air, producing Nitric Oxide in the back of the nostrils, which has several health benefits. Nasal breathing is the healthiest way to breathe. 

Which kind of healthcare specialist should a mouth breather seek?

An individual who breathes through the mouth can seek an Orofacial Myofunctional Therapist to assist in the treatment of mouth breathing. Most Oral Facial Myofunctional Therapists are trained to deal with these cases. Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy is commenced only after assessment of the cause. It is advisable to also work within an allied team, of an otholaryngologyst/ENT, or a breathing specialist and /or an allergist.