In past newsletter issues, we have discussed the importance of the airway, tongue-ties and lip ties, and bad oral habits. We have learned proper breathing is key to orofacial development and overall general health. Without a properly functioning airway, oral maxillofacial disorders (OMDs) develop and compromise orthodontic treatments. You may see prolonged treatment in order to achieve desired results and/or relapse of treatment. Tongue-ties and lip ties can also negatively affect normal functions of oral muscles, especially the tongue, causing speech difficulties, improper chewing and swallowing, and poor development of the dental arches, to name just a few. Bad oral habits like finger sucking can (and usually will) inhibit proper position and alignment of the teeth.
EXAMPLES OF CONDITIONS THAT MAY COMPROMISE YOUR ORTHODONTIC CARE:
• Compromised airway
• Tongue-ties and lip ties
• Bad oral habits (present or in past)
What do you need to do to get the most out of orthodontic treatment before it begins and during treatment? First, you need to know the problems which are present in your child (or yourself) that may compromise treatment. We have previously listed some OMDs to look for.
Once you know the existing conditions that may thwart orthodontic treatment, these problems should be resolved appropriately. Follow up with your dentist to get the help you need. If there are signs of a compromised airway, you may be referred to an ENT specialist. Your dentist can address many tongue-tie and lip tie issues and even provide any needed myofunctional therapy or, at least, refer you to an orofacial myofunctional therapist or orofacial myologist.
Orofacial myofunctional therapy (OMT) is the treatment of Myofunctional disorders (OMDs), and orofacial myology is the study and treatment of orofacial muscles for OMDs. OMT is designed for the individual and OMDs diagnosed. This type of therapy can make a difference in overall orthodontic treatment. Sometimes, Myofunctional treatment alone can make big changes. We also sometimes forget that a purely mechanical orthodontic treatment system is not always the best stand-alone option for treating a living human being.
In summary, once you know the existing conditions that may thwart orthodontic treatment, the appropriate professional can treat them appropriately. One of the best ways to assess these conditions is with a 3D image. As always, if you want to learn more about how to achieve the best chance for successful orthodontic treatment, just call us to discuss your concerns or questions.
- Dr. Ann Soberay