Myofunctional dysfunction can negatively impact a patient's teeth and overall dental health in several ways:

  • Misaligned Teeth: Improper tongue posture and function, such as tongue thrusting when swallowing, can exert pressure on the teeth, causing them to shift out of alignment. This can lead to crowding, gaps, and other orthodontic problems.
  • Open Bite: An open bite occurs when the upper and lower front teeth don't meet when the mouth is closed. Myofunctional dysfunction, particularly involving the tongue thrust swallow, can contribute to this by interfering with normal jaw development.
  • Excessive Tooth Wear: Myofunctional habits like abnormal tongue positioning or clenching can cause teeth to grind against each other excessively. This can wear down tooth enamel over time, increasing the risk of cavities and tooth sensitivity.
  • Gum Problems: Myofunctional dysfunction can disrupt the natural cleaning action of the tongue and lips, allowing plaque to build up more easily on teeth and gums. This can increase the risk of gingivitis and periodontitis, gum diseases that can damage gum tissues and bone.
  • Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Problems: Myofunctional dysfunction can place strain on the TMJ, the joint connecting your jaw to your skull. This can lead to TMJ disorders, causing pain, clicking sounds in the jaw, and difficulty chewing.

By addressing these underlying myofunctional issues, myofunctional therapy can help improve dental health and potentially prevent future problems. Therapy can also work alongside orthodontic treatment to achieve better outcomes and improve the stability of braces or retainers.