Myofunctional Therapy: A Screening Guide for Providers

Dear Colleagues,

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry’s 2013 guidelines highlight the need for pediatric dentists to proactively screen and manage childhood oral habits. This includes but is not limited to bruxism, oral object habits, and mouth breathing. These measures are crucial to prevent unfavorable craniofacial development like malocclusion and crowding.

As healthcare professionals, we often encounter Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders (OMDs) in children and adults. Perhaps you’re already familiar with Myofunctional Therapy – a program specially designed to manage these issues. If not, it’s a resource you may find useful.

Here’s a concise questionnaire to aid in determining whether your patients could benefit from myofunctional therapy:

  1. Do you regularly screen for short lingual frenulum?
  2. Have you observed potential muscular-related jaw instability in any patients?
  3. Have you identified any habitual oral behaviors (nail biting, cheek or lip biting, tongue thrusting, thumb sucking) that could affect occlusion?
  4. Have you encountered any patient’s tongue obstructing your work in the oral cavity?
  5. Do you have patients with an intense gag reflex?
  6. Have any of your patients reported bruxism?
  7. Have you seen cases of anterior gingivitis due to mouth breathing?
  8. Have you noticed patients with a tongue thrust swallow?
  9. Do you utilize cribs or rakes for tongue thrusters?
  10. Have you experienced issues with patient compliance in wearing oral appliances?
  11. Have you considered the impact of tongue resting position on occlusal relationships?
  12. Do your patients have trouble with nasal breathing?
  13. Do they wake up with dry mouth?
  14. Do they have allergies making nasal breathing challenging?
  15. Is postnasal drip common among your patients?
  16. Do patients report nocturnal or early morning heartburn or acid reflux?
  17. Have you observed molar erosion?
  18. Do your patients complain of frequent headaches, facial pain, neck tension, TMJ pain, tinnitus, vertigo, or dizziness?
  19. Have you noticed patients with enlarged tonsils or tonsil stones?
  20. Have you seen cases of scalloped tongues?
  21. Do your patients express concerns about snoring or cessation of breath during sleep?
  22. Do you regularly refer any of your patients for sleep studies?

In essence, being vigilant to these signs can assist in identifying patients who could greatly benefit from Myofunctional Therapy.