Myofuntional Applainces

Myofunctional Appliance

Developmental anomalies of the mouth, tongue, or facial muscles that lead to dysfunctional placement of the lip, jaw, or tongue and cause hindrances in proper speech, swallowing, or resting / sleep are known as Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders (OMDs). They could be caused by genetic defects, airway congestion or obstructions, or bad oral habits like thumb-sucking, extended use of pacifiers, or tongue thrusting. Not addressing the OMDs issues in early childhood can lead to malocclusions, periodontal disease, abnormal jaw growth or position, long-term breathing problems, digestive issues due to the impact on chewing and swallowing, and speech distortions. Myofunctional appliances can help to correct these abnormalities easily.

Myofunctional Appliances In Pediatric Dentistry

Myofunctional appliances are part of proactive preventive orthodontic treatment to correct myofunctional disorders caused by improper oral habits. The treatment is considered most effective in children between the ages of 5-15 years with ongoing jaw growth and development. Myofunctional Appliances in Pediatric Dentistry offer a non-invasive approach to enabling optimal dental health and function by correcting the underlying oral habits that cause dental defects. 

Common Types of Myofunctional Appliances

Myofunctional Appliances are removable appliances that are used to improve the functioning and aesthetics of the tongue, the jaw, the palate and arches, and the lips. Some of the common Myofunctional Appliances in Pediatric Dentistry include:

Tongue Retaining Appliances (TRAs)

Designed to hold the tongue in and prevent it from thrusting forward during swallowing or speaking, Tongue Retaining Appliances help to promote proper tongue posture and in the correction of malocclusions caused due to tongue dysfunction. 

Mandibular Repositioning Appliances (MRAs)

Issues related to the lower jaw can lead to blockage of air passages and sleep issues like snoring and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Mandibular Repositioning Appliances work to pull the lower jaw forward and create more space for airflow to the back of the throat, especially while sleeping. 

Palatal Expanders

For issues regarding the upper or lower arches, including crowding of teeth, overbites, crossbites, and other malocclusions, the Pediatric Dentist will advise the use of Palatal Expanders which gradually expand the palate and create more space for the teeth to fit in and align correctly. 

Lip Bumpers

Lip Bumpers are myofunctional appliances that expand the dental arch and help to prevent the lips from exerting excessive pressure on the teeth which can cause malocclusions. The appliance consists of a metal wire fitted around the lower arch that slides into metal bands attached to the molars. 

Myofunctional Trainers

The Myobrace™ Myofunctional Trainers are a comprehensive set of custom-made dental appliances that retrain the tongue to stay in the correct position in the upper jaw and correct wrong patterns of chewing, swallowing, and nasal breathing, along with muscle strengthening exercises. 

Benefits of Myofunctional Appliances

The use of Myofunctional Appliances in Pediatric Dentistry comes with many advantages as compared to other forms of orthodontic treatments. 

  • Correction of dental issues due to myofunctional habits can be corrected as early as 5 years of age, through early-age intervention.
  • The frequency of patient visits for treatment using myofunctional appliances is less than other fixed or removable appliances. 
  • Patient acceptance of the appliances is good because they are required to be worn only at night and, in some cases, for 1-2 hours during the awake hours. 
  • Myofunctional appliances do not interfere with maintenance of proper oral hygiene and there is no risk of food debris collecting them.

Role of Parents in Myofunctional Appliance Therapy

As with any treatment in Pediatric Dentistry, the role of parents is crucial in Myofunctional Appliance Therapy. Since the treatment can be initiated at an early age, the children may require active guidance from the parents to ensure compliance. The treatment can only be successful when the myofunctional appliances are used as instructed by the Pediatric Dentist for the prescribed time every day. Also, the treatment involves muscle strengthening exercises which need to be practised regularly to ensure the effectiveness of the therapy.

Future of Pediatric Dentistry with Myofunctional Appliances

The future of Pediatric Dentistry is in Early Intervention Orthodontics. Myofunctional Appliances play a very important role in early age interventions as they are used to eliminate abnormal muscle function and modulate development of the oral cavity and jaw growth in order to correct skeletal malocclusions early so that elaborate orthodontic treatments can be avoided at a later age. At Dr. Kammath’s Pediatric Dental Care, we encourage regular dental visits from the time the child starts teething so that the Pediatric Dentists can accurately assess and track the child’s oral health and development and advise early intervention as needed.