San Francisco, Marin, and Oakland, CA
For a child, losing baby teeth is an exciting time. It means he or she is growing up—and can expect a little something under the pillow from the Tooth Fairy. As those permanent teeth erupt from the gum line, however, they might be coming in crooked. These eruptions may crowd existing permanent teeth, even throwing off the alignment of the bite and/or jaws. As a parent, you want the best for your child and want an answer to this issue. Keep reading to learn how breathing and oral habits might be altering the alignment of your child’s teeth and how the experts at Glen Park Dental can help.
The Dangers of an OMD
OMD stands for orofacial myofunctional disorder. This phrase is more than just a tongue twister; it refers to a classification of disorders stemming from a dysfunction in the muscles of the mouth and face. Typically, an OMD develops during childhood, but if it is not identified and treated, it can create cascading effects into adulthood that affect the way you eat, breathe, and even learn.
Your orofacial system is meant to exist in a certain state of harmony. If one aspect of the system develops a functional issue, it throws the entire system out of balance.
For example, if an OMD develops in the tongue or lips, the possible consequences include:
- Crowded teeth
- Developmental issues with the jaws
- Malocclusion, also known as a misaligned bite
- Crooked teeth
- Protruding upper teeth, also known as an overjet
These functional issues also can lead to the development of a negative habit—such as thumb sucking or tongue thrust.
How you breathe matters
If your child is frequently breathing through the mouth, it can be quite harmful to their physical and mental development. While we all breathe through the mouth from time to time, such as due to nasal congestion, frequently breathing through the mouth restricts oxygen levels in the blood and leads to muscular issues with the jaws and mouth, hindering optimum growth. A child who breathes through the mouth may experience narrow dental arches, a recessed chin, and even an elongated facial structure—all conditions that raise their risk of developing obstructive sleep apnea and/or temporomandibular joint disorder.
How We Can Help
This list of potential consequences may sound intimidating or even frighten you. The good news is that OMDs are eminently treatable because they all relate to muscle function. One of the most effective ways we can resolve these issues at Glen Park Dental is through a course of myofunctional therapy. This consists of performing a series of simple, pain-free exercises that work the orofacial muscles, in conjunction with the tongue. It takes just a few minutes each day to perform these exercises, and, over time, they re-train your orofacial system to correct the muscular issues causing your OMD and any other negative habits or consequences that have developed.
Anyone can benefit from myofunctional therapy: young children, adolescents, and even adults. Conducted under the direction of a licensed myofunctional therapist, a course of myofunctional therapy can make a big difference in the overall health and wellness of your child.
Myofunctional Therapy in Oakland
To find out more about myofunctional therapy and how it can benefit you, call the office of Glen Park Dental today at (415) 585-1500 to schedule your consultation.
Glen Park Dental is proud to serve patients in the areas of Marin, Oakland, and San Francisco, California.