How many of you have gone through the pain and agony of years of braces, only to have the orthodontist tell you; “here’s your retainer, where it FOREVER…forever…forever.” And then of course, being human, you break, lose, or somehow destroy that retainer, and by the time you head back to the orthodontist, your teeth have shifted! NOOOOOOOOO!!!!
Have you ever wondered why this is happening? It’s more than likely because you aren’t uses the muscles in your face correctly! Most of us have a myofunctional habit, which made our teeth crooked in the first place! Hold up, Dr. K., what’s a myofunctional habit? Myo- is latin for muscle, Functional- is well, the function of the muscle. So what I’m saying is that most of us don’t use the muscles in our faces appropriately when we swallow, speak, eat, or sleep! These muscles are the bullies of the mouth. Teeth only require roughly 2 grams, (or to be more precise 1.7g), of force to be moved. But the lips, cheeks, chin, and tongue can push upwards of 100g+ of force! That’s why losing your retainer, or breaking the cemented retainer in your mouth is BAD news!
But what does this really mean? It means that if these muscles can move the teeth, imagine the havoc they have created on the bones/ jaw structure and airway development of our mouths!
I will use myself as a prime example. On the whole, I have a decent smile, but if you look a little deeper, you will see some real concerns.
- Gaps in my teeth (after two rounds of ortho)
- An Occlusal Cant (in other words, my jaws are not parallel)
- Dehiscence (washboard roots, which means very little bone surrounding my teeth)
- Moderate sleep apnea
- Intense neck pain
Parents – Please Take Note:
The proper growth and development of your child is a key factor in their health, and is just as important as their education. By age 4, 40% of the face has developed, by age 7, 70% of the face has developed. This means that by the first day of elementary school, 3 out of 4 children will not experience correct facial, jaw or airway development. This can result in disordered breathing, and skeletal issues that could affect them for the rest of their lives.
What are some of the symptoms of a Myofunctional disorder?
- Mouth breathing
- Thumb, finger or pacifier sucking
- Cheek or lip biting
- Frequent choking/gagging
- Overactive lips and chin when swallowing
- Speech issues
- Reverse swallow/ Tongue thrust
- Deep bite
- Crossbite /Underbite
How do we treat these myofunctional habits?
Using a system called the Myobrace, and incorporating Myofunctional Therapy.
What is Myofunctional Therapy?
It’s like physical therapy for the face! Therefore, when these muscles are contracting in the wrong way, they can adversely affect how your child develops their jaw, bite, and airway. Myofunctional therapy is the study of how these muscles affect breathing, swallowing, feeding, speech, and facial features.
Myobrace Vs. Traditional Orthodontic Treatment:
These two treatment modalities have two very different treatment goals. Traditional orthodontic treatment is meant to move teeth. In doing so, brackets can often result in short roots, increased cavities, stripped enamel, and an unstable result. Traditional orthodontic treatment often fails to address the main CAUSE of the crooked teeth, and without a retainer, the teeth will often shift back into their crowded position once again.
Our alternative orthodontic treatment uses myofunctional techniques to address the poor muscular habits that are the underlying causes of crooked teeth, and uses light intermittent forces to align the teeth. Orthodontists have utilized this mode of practice around the world for over 25 years.
How does Myobrace work?
A series or removable dental trainers that are worn for 1-2 hours each day, and overnight while sleeping assist in the correction of the myofunctional habits. When accompanied with tongue and facial exercises performed by your child on a daily basis, the muscles will re-organize and muscle memory will be renewed. The Myobrace trainer system utilizes the body’s resources to develop the jaws, open the airway, and assist in moving the teeth into their natural alignment. It’s like Pilates for the mouth!
What age do you start?
Most children start treatment between the ages of 5-15 yrs, however, unlike traditional orthodontics, the myobrace trainer system can be used in children as young as 3. All products are safe, biocompatible, BPA free and made of medical grade silicone. There is no choking hazard, and for really young children, there is a strap that hooks onto their clothing.
If this alternative approach to orthodontics is something you feel would benefit your child, give The Brush Stop a call at 760-635-5995. You can also find additional information on our website: www.thebrushstopdental.com or the Myobrace website at www.myobrace.com
Dr. Khoury putting in her 1-2 hours with her Myobrace!