Did you know the average person swallows as many as 2,000 times a day? Sometimes, the way we swallow impacts how we eat, the way we talk, how we look and even how we breathe.
Myofunctional disorders can affect people of all ages. They occur when the tongue pushes forward or sideways while swallowing, causing a range of medical problems that affect development and function.
While symptoms of a myofunctional disorder may be noticed by a dentist or orthodontist, a referral for an evaluation and training through our program must be completed by your primary care physician.
Mary Free Bed’s Myofunctional Training Program can improve symptoms so you or your child can eat efficiently, sleep better and speak more clearly.
Symptoms of a myofunctional disorder are caused by a variety of things, from enlarged tonsils or allergies that cause mouth-breathing to chronic thumb-sucking or lack of muscle tone.
Associated problems may include:
Mary Free Bed can evaluate and correct these disorders.
The speech-language pathologists in our Myofunctional Training Program can help you or your child increase muscle strength and improve control of your mouth and tongue.
For treatment to be successful, you’ll do oral exercises to increase tongue strength and coordination, so that normal function improves. Daily practice is essential because change in muscle memory depends on frequent repetition.
We’ll develop a personalized therapy plan after an initial 45-minute evaluation. The length of training will depend on the severity and nature of the myofunctional disorder. In most cases, training begins with weekly 30-minute visits for four to six weeks to establish new behaviors. Follow-up visits may be required but will decrease in frequency over three to six months.
Treatment is available for all ages. Depending on your child’s symptoms, training can begin as young as seven or eight years old. Young patients usually need to be motivated to change their behavior, so if you’re a parent, you’ll need to support your child.