Myofunctional Therapy

Dr. Starnes is a certified Orthodontic Myofunctional Therapist (tongue thrust). It is a unique treatment program that works quickly and effectively to eliminate tongue thrust swallowing patterns. It is designed exclusively to assist therapy to patients whose swallowing patterns are causing difficulty with their orthodontic treatment.

What does this therapy do?

This unique therapy technique corrects tongue thrust in an average of only 6 weeks. She applies the neuromuscular requirements and sequential movements of swallowing to a treatment approach that replaces the tongue thrust with a normal reflex swallow. The treatment is equally effective with children (beginning at age 10) and adults, and the return to normal swallow is usually permanent.

What is therapy like?

Dr. Starnes conducts an evaluation of muscle strength and movement during swallowing. If a swallow pattern is found that could interfere with the success of an orthodontic program, treatment is recommended. The therapy consists of an average of 6 weekly treatments and associated homework taking less than 15 minutes per day. Exercises are done to strengthen the swallowing muscles, the sequential movements of the normal swallow reflex are patterned and finally, the new swallow is applied to activities such as eating, drinking, gum chewing and taking pills. At this point, the Orthodontist and patient may start to see positive results from removing the tongue presence and pressure from the teeth.

What are the benefits?

Dr. Starnes’ therapy works at any stage of orthodontic treatment. When therapy is completed prior to orthodontics, early intervention prevents fighting with the tongue during braces and helps the orthodontic timetable to stay on track. When therapy is done during orthodontics and before braces are removed, the final closing stages go easier and the potential for relapse is drastically reduced. If patients have already had their braces removed and their teeth are starting to open or shift because of tongue thrust, swallowing therapy may stop or reverse the relapse.

Contact Our Newport Beach Office with Questions

If you have any questions about tongue thrust therapy, please contact our office as we're always here to help!