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Tongue thrust, the domination of either inner or outer orofacial muscles, bad oral habits (non-nutritive (thumb/pacifier) sucking, nail biting, bruxism, etc.) and mouth breathing are only some of the causes for malocclusion.
Myofunctional appliances are used to correct certain orthodontic anomalies by strengthening targeted groups of orofacial muscles. They are also used to prevent mouth breathing and tongue thrust (a behavioral pattern in which the tongue is pushed forward while swallowing). The goal of myofunctional therapy is creating a new set of neuromuscular patterns. The therapy includes wearing a myofunctional appliance, as well as regular tongue, lip, chin and cheek muscle exercises.
Myofunctional appliances are mostly used in the stage of mixed dentition, prior to fixed orthodontic therapy. In some cases, they can even completely correct the anomaly, preventing the need for further orthodontic therapy.
The Myobrace is a removable myofunctional appliance used to correct poor oral habits in cases in which they cause orthodontic anomalies.
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The Myobrace appliances have a dual function – they correct bad oral habits and employ light, intermittent forces in order to align teeth. The appliance must be worn for one to two hours a day, as well as overnight during sleep, and the therapy should be accompanied by special “myofunctional exercises” which help strengthen the patient’s orofacial muscles. The length of the Myobrace therapy depends on whether the patient is wearing their appliance and performing the prescribed exercises regularly, but it usually lasts between a year and a half and two years. It is completely pain-free and can be worn by both children and adults. The ideal time for starting this type of orthodontic treatment is the period between the ages of eight and fifteen, that is, during the change from primary to permanent dentition. It is easier and more effective to correct orthodontic anomalies while the period of jaw development is not yet concluded.