Traditional Orthodontics does a great job of moving teeth within the bones. It also recognizes and modifies bony discrepancies when there is an obvious dental cross-bite or significant class II mal-occlusion. However, the reality is that VERY RARELY are muscles discussed as part of the orthodontic treatment plan.
Traditional orthodontics typically uses metal wires and braces for around two years to straighten and align the teeth. Afterwards, a retainer is recommended to be worn FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE to keep the teeth aligned.
When treating crowded teeth, and other forms of malocclusion, it is important to address the delicate balance between bones, teeth, and muscles. In order for the teeth to remain stable following orthodontic treatment, there must be a systemic balance between these three. If this systemic balance is not discussed and planned for AT THE BEGINNING of orthodontic treatment, final outcomes and long term stability may suffer.
Myofunctional orthodontics recognizes that most malocclusions and bony deficiencies / discrepancies are primarily CAUSED by muscles acting improperly. If we treat the teeth and bones, but neglect the muscles, then there CANNOT be balance in the system and it is VERY likely that the teeth will relapse in time.
When the muscles of the jaw, both inside and outside the mouth, are balanced with the teeth and bones, the teeth should remain in proper positions after completion of any tooth movement as the MUSCLES will act as the retainer for the future.
Myofunctional orthodontics uses muscle training and functional appliances to balance the bones and muscles. When the muscles and bones are in balance, the teeth will naturally drift toward their ideal position. This leads to the final phase of the orthodontic treatment, which is typically achieved in a much shorter time frame compared with traditional orthodontics. This can often be achieved with clear aligners alone. (Traditional wires and brackets can be used as well, still in a fraction of the time it takes with traditional orthodontics).
Myofunctional therapy is an exercised based treatment which involves correcting dysfunction in the mouth (tongue placement, breathing, chewing) and swallowing.
Myofunctional therapy's aim is to repair behaviors which should come very naturally (like breathing and chewing), but which can become dysfunctional, leading to a ripple of negative health consequences (like sleep apnea, fatigue, digestive problems, postural problems, etc.).
Myofunctional therapy is a key component and should be performed at the onset of treatment in order to get the BEST outcome.