Jaw Pain, also known as temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD), can be related to many different factors including, but not limited to: mouth breathing, clenching, grinding, dental crowding, chewing on one side of the mouth, nail biting, or even postural habits like resting your hand on your chin. TMD can also contribute to headaches and neck/should tension and pain. The tongue contributes to stabilizing the jaw. If it isn’t function the way it’s meant to or is not in the correct spot, the jaw joint will struggle to be stable.
Patients often find that myofunctional therapy exercises are a great non-invasive option to help with jaw pain. They find relief from jaw pain and headaches if the underlying issues are tongue and muscle related. There are many different ways to alleviate symptoms and every person is different in terms of the jaw pain they encounter. Often, myofunctional therapists work along with other specialist like the orthodontist, dentist, or physical therapist to help rebalance and retrain the muscles of the face, mouth, and neck to help restore to proper function.
How Does Myofunctional Therapy Help with Facial Trauma, Paralysis, or Special Needs?
People who have suffered from a facial trauma, paralysis, and those with special needs such as Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, or chronic pain should be seen by a team of specialists. An advanced myofunctional therapist can be part of that team. The myofunctional therapist may improve swallowing, breathing, speech and chewing. They help you balance the muscles of the face which may help relieve pain, decrease swelling, improve chewing, speech and appearance of scars.