Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy
Recently 3 out of every 4 children have crowded teeth and incorrectly developing jaws. These problems are evident from as early as 4 years of age. Even though the problems are evident, present orthodontic treatments require the child to grow with the problem until their early teen to start correction. The solution later provided are painful, requires brackets and wires stuck to teeth for a couple of years and most often is accompanied by removal of healthy teeth. To add on there is a high chance of relapse of the malocclusion after the treatment or it requires wearing of retainers lifelong.
OMT is the physiotherapy for head and neck exercise. A primary goal of orofacial myofunctional therapy is to create, recapture or stabilize a normal resting relationship between the tongue, lips, teeth, and jaws.
MALALIGNMENT: It is the chronic non communicable disease.
Most of the time we are made to believe that genetics is the only cause for malocclusion/crooked teeth. Just like how other genetically transferred diseases like cardiac and diabetes express themselves only in the presence of lifestyle changes and can be prevented by maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Likewise crooked teeth/malocclusion expresses in the presence of oral restrictions, myofunctional habits & dietary modifications.
Recently most of us are forgetting about root cause in the sense, poor oral habits and muscular tension that lead to poor jaw development which lead to crooked teeth around the age of 6 and over years. When we delay the treatment until permanent teeth eruption around 12-14 years actually we are missing the child’s growth period where 90./. of the jaw growth would have been completed.
The causes can be grouped into
- Disturbance in embroyonic development/ birth trauma/ dental trauma/ congenital defects/ oral restrictions(tongue and lip tie)
- which means that environmental influences on the expression of genes (epigenetics) could be the predominant cause of orthodontic problems.
- The changes we have created in our environment (such as bottle feeding, a softer diet) over the past few hundred years appears to have altered the way our faces and teeth grow.
BENEFITS OF STARTING EARLY:
- Timing matters – when it comes to even child’s dental alignment treatment. “Early” diagnosis and intervention, also called “preventive” treatment, means treatment is performed even when baby teeth are still present.
- When we start early we can pick up the child’s growth as early as 3 years of age where we can prevent the problem rather than treating it around the age of 14.
- Since the treatment doesn’t require any food restrictions or it will not consume too much off time on the child’s other study schedule it will be easy to wear and remove.
- The child doesn’t feel inferior on social platforms with the treatment because none of them know that the child is under treatment.
- The obvious goal of Orofacial myofunctional therapy(OMT) is to provide healthy child with naturally straight teeth . But the main goal is optimization of proper development and growth of jaw by improvising the chewing, swallowing, sleep, breathing, and speech
- This helps in directing the growth of the jaws in a proper way for a better profile, proper facial symmetry along with providing proper lip support.
- The orofacial myofunctional therapy is basically associated with myofunctional activities(exercises) and oral appliances.
- The wearing of oral appliance is only one part of treatment plan to correct abnormal development of the jaws and crooked teeth
- But the major part of the therapy includes myofunctional activities (exercise) which helps in correction of orofacial muscular hyperactivity.
- The myofunctional activities include exercise for each and every muscle to correct tongue posture, swallowing pattern and mouth breathing.
- The exercise will be done 10 minutes every day along with the oral appliance wear for 1-2 hours during the day and overnight to overcome the habit correction and crooked teeth.
- The treatment will be continued until teeth, jaw and muscle come in harmony.
- Before after pictures of our patient