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Hygiene Tribune U.S. Edition

HYGIENE TRIBUNE The World’s Dental Hygiene Newspaper · U.S. Edition g HT page 3C, THERAPY By Stephanie Wall, RDH, MSDH, MEd Myofunctional therapy Orofacial myology, or myofunc- tional therapy, is the treatment of an orofacial muscle imbalance, incor- rect swallowing pattern, TMJ mus- cle dysfunction and/or the elimina- tion of bruxing, clenching or nox- ious oral habits. The main muscles of concern to the orofacial myolo- gist include the temporalis, masse- ter, internal and external pterygoid, buccinator, orbicularis oris and the mentalis. Orofacial myofunctional thera- py is a form of oral facial physi- cal therapy. It involves exercises and stimulation designed to inhibit inappropriate oral behaviors and/ or strengthen appropriate muscle functioning. Resting postures of the tongue, jaw and lips are very important in normal oral growth. When the tongue rests between the posteri- or teeth, they may not fully erupt, resulting in an open bite appear- ance. If the tongue rests against the maxillary anterior teeth, especially if the upper lip is short or weak, the teeth may begin to protrude too far forward. When the lips are not in a closed resting position, the growth and development of the mouth can be adversely affected. Excessive non-nutritive or non- speech oral behaviors, such as clenching, bruxing, thumb or digit sucking and nail biting, can also affect the condition of the teeth and health and functioning of the mouth, especially the jaw. When any oral behavior is excessive in intensity, duration and frequency, the pressures or collision forces can have a serious impact on nor- mal facial appearance and orofacial health and functioning. One of the most commonly seen disorders, tongue thrust, refers to a pattern of swallowing in which the tongue pushes forward and/or side- ways against or between the teeth during swallowing. Swallowing occurs hundreds of times each day with little to no conscious thought. When the tongue presses against or between the teeth during swallow- ing, the pressure can have adverse effects on the position of the teeth, bone growth, soft-tissue condition and mouth functioning. Some of the symptoms that occur with tongue thrust include: • aerophagia, • difficulty swallowing pills or firm foods, • the inability to wear dentures, • a residual effect on the hard pal- ate from a digital habit, • chronic mouth breathing, • continued nasal stuffiness, • orofacial muscle strain and imbalance, • chronic headaches or facial spasms or pain. Additional types of patients the orofacial myologist may treat include individuals with the following: • high arched hard palate, • weak lip structure, • facial grimace when swallow- ing, • ankylosed lingual frenum, • protrusion of the tongue when in repose, • over developed mentalis muscle, • sleep apnea. Upper airway infections and obstructions are frequently identi- fied as causes of orofacial myofunc- tional disorders, especially when these problems cause the mouth to rest in an open position. Reduced oral muscle tone or poor orofacial muscle postures appear to nega- tively impact the growing mouth and facial structures. Long-term non-nutritive sucking habits can also malform the oral structure. Sometimes poor speech articulation patterns may indicate neurological or physical deficits. It is often difficult to determine why an orofacial myofunctional disorder exists because the behaviors can be the result of stimuli no longer fully obvious. Regardless of cause, once inap- propriate oral behavioral patterns are established, they tend to contin- ue until some external stimulus or May 2011 Vol. 4, No. 5 A structured, individualized treatment for retraining and restoring normal oral function National Museum of Dentistry presents a ‘Tooth Fairy Day’ What do fairies do with all those teeth? Grab your wand and put on your wings to meet the Tooth Fairy herself and find out at Tooth Fairy Day at the National Museum of Den- tistry on Saturday, May 14, from 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Discover how to have a sparkling smile during an afternoon filled with “tooth-riffic” hands-on activities and fun. Make fairy wands and wings, a box to hold your lost tooth and more! “Healthy smiles start young, so it’s important to teach kids early how to take care of their teeth,” said Jona- than Landers, executive director of the National Museum of Dentistry. “Tooth Fairy Day is an opportunity to have fun while learning skills that will make an impact for a lifetime.” Kids can try their hands at fairy work by making a tooth necklace, decorating maracas, learning about animal teeth and exploring the museum on a scavenger hunt to learn about false teeth, including the most famous false teeth of all (hint: they belonged to the first pres- ident of the United States). In addi- tion, children can explore hands-on exhibits throughout the museum about all things toothy and how to have a healthy smile. Tooth Fairy Day is included with regular museum admission: $7 for adults, $5 for seniors, $3 for chil- dren, free for two and under and active duty military and immediate family. The National Museum of Dentist- ry, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, is located at 31 S. Greene St. in downtown Baltimore. Call (410) 706-0600 or visit www. for more infor- mation. HT (Photo/NationalMuseumofDentistry)