Soft Tissue Dysfunction
Understanding Soft Tissue Dysfunction
2 and 3. Breathing and Swallowing patterns
Reverse swallowing patterns impact on facial growth and development. The excessive jaw movement that accompanies a reverse swallow pushes in the reverse direction of natural growth and impacts on facial development. An open mouth posture produces a retruded facial profile and allows less room for the anterior and posterior teeth.
Removing these bad influences allows for more natural growth to occur. Correcting myofunctional habits increases the space for the teeth in the jaws, and improves dental alignment.
Soft tissue dysfunction also affects the function of the temporo-mandibular joint. A reverse swallow not only pushes the mandible back and restricts growth, but also compresses the temporo-mandibular joint. For more information on TMJ disorder visit the TMJ disorder diagnosis and treatment chapter in the Myofunctional Orthodontics section of this website.
4. Facial Development
A child’s face naturally grows downwards and forwards, which allows for more space for the anterior and the posterior teeth as they descend. If the muscles of the face are functioning correctly, the tongue is in the correct position, the patient’s mouth is closed and they’re breathing through their nose then growth will achieve full genetic potential.
If the patient is a mouth breather, the tongue cannot rest in its correct position (in the roof of the mouth) as the mouth is open most of the time.
When the growth journey is interrupted, development becomes more vertical than horizontal; meaning that there’s less room for the teeth in the jaws. An open mouth posture produces a retruded facial profile and allows less room for the anterior and posterior teeth.