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Keywords

orofacial myology, orofacial myofunctional therapy, sleep disordered breathing

Abstract

The origins of Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy began in the early 1960's by orthodontists who recognized the importance of functional nasal breathing, proper swallowing, and more ideal oral rest postures. Re-patterning these functions through myofunctional therapy assisted with better orthodontic outcomes and improved stability. Experts in orofacial myology have concluded that improper oral rest postures and tongue thrusting may be the result of hypertrophy of the lymphatic tissues in the upper airway. Orthodontists are aware of the deleterious effects these habits have on the developing face and dentition. Sleep disordered breathing is a major health concern that affects people from infancy into adulthood. Physicians who treat sleep disorders are now referring patients for orofacial myofunctional therapy. Researchers have concluded that removal of tonsils and adenoids, along with expansion orthodontics, may not fully resolve the upper airway issues that continue to plague patients' health. Sleep researchers report that the presence of mouth breathing, along with hypotonia of the orofacial muscular complex, has been a persistent problem in the treatment of sleep disordered breathing. Orofacial myofunctional disorders (OMDs) coexist in a large population of people with sleep disordered breathing and sleep apnea. Advances in 30 Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT) imaging offer the dental and medical communities the opportunity to identify, assess, and treat patients with abnormal growth patterns. These undesirable changes in oral structures can involve the upper airway, as well as functional breathing, chewing and swallowing. Leading researchers have advocated a multidisciplinary team approach. Sleep physicians, otolaryngologists, dentists, myofunctional therapists, and other healthcare professionals are working together to achieve these goals. The authors have compiled research articles that support incorporating the necessary education on sleep disordered breathing for healthcare professionals seeking education in orofacial myology.

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