Unraveling Sleep Dentistry: The Vital Role of Orofacial Myofunctional Therapists in Identifying Sleep-Related Breathing Disorders

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  • Source: MYOAIR
  • 07/30/2023

Greetings to all! As an Orofacial Myofunctional Therapist, I am thrilled to explore the exciting realm of sleep dentistry and shed light on the critical role we play in enhancing oral health and overall well-being. Join me as we delve into the fascinating findings from a recent study published in PubMed and understand how Orofacial Myofunctional Therapists are uniquely positioned to identify patients with sleep-related breathing disorders, working in harmony with orthodontists to ensure comprehensive care.

Understanding Sleep-Related Breathing Disorders:

Sleep-Related Breathing Disorders, such as Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), pose significant health challenges as they involve recurrent airway blockages during sleep. Factors like obesity, age, and specific facial features can contribute to OSA. As Orofacial Myofunctional Therapists, we possess specialized knowledge to recognize potential signs of OSA in our patients, such as tired eyes, a narrow face, or a receding chin.

The Controversy of Orthodontic Extractions:

Within the dental community, there exists a debate on whether orthodontic extractions can worsen sleep-related breathing disorders like OSA. Some experts advocate for non-extraction orthodontic approaches, while others argue that extractions are necessary for severe crowding and dental health. However, recent studies, including the one published in PubMed, demonstrate that the absence of premolars, often extracted in orthodontic treatment, does not significantly cause OSA. As Orofacial Myofunctional Therapists, we recognize the importance of considering individual dental and skeletal conditions before deciding on extraction treatments, ensuring that overall dental health is not compromised.

The Orthodontist's Role in Sleep Dentistry:

Recent studies highlight the vital role of orthodontists in the field of sleep dentistry. Orthodontic treatment, such as clear aligners, has demonstrated outstanding results in cases that were previously considered challenging to treat. Additionally, orthodontists are well-equipped to evaluate facial features, jaw position, and dental health, factors that can impact a patient's risk for sleep-related breathing disorders like OSA.

Collaborating with Orthodontists:

Orofacial Myofunctional Therapists work hand-in-hand with orthodontists to identify patients at risk for sleep-related breathing disorders. Our specialized training enables us to recognize certain facial and oral characteristics that might predispose patients to OSA. By collaborating closely with orthodontists, we ensure comprehensive patient evaluations and personalized treatment plans.

Diagnosing Sleep-Related Breathing Disorders:

Accurate diagnosis of sleep-related breathing disorders is crucial for effective treatment. As Orofacial Myofunctional Therapists, we actively participate in the assessment process, gathering essential information through patient interviews and observations. By asking pertinent questions about sleep quality, focus, and habits, we contribute valuable insights that aid in identifying potential sleep-related issues.

Treatment and Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy:

In the context of sleep dentistry, Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy plays a pivotal role in complementing treatment modalities. Our expertise in orofacial muscles and functions allows us to address muscle imbalances that might contribute to sleep-related breathing disorders. By providing targeted exercises and techniques, we can help improve the function and coordination of oral and facial muscles, supporting orthodontic treatments and promoting better sleep quality.

Collaborative Patient Care:

Collaboration between Orofacial Myofunctional Therapists and orthodontists ensures holistic patient care. By recognizing and addressing potential sleep-related breathing issues early in the treatment process, we enhance treatment outcomes and overall patient well-being. Our collective efforts fortify the bridge between dental professionals and medical experts, reinforcing the importance of a multidisciplinary approach to sleep dentistry.


As Orofacial Myofunctional Therapists, we are key players in the field of sleep dentistry, collaborating closely with orthodontists to identify patients at risk for sleep-related breathing disorders. Our specialized training allows us to recognize facial and oral characteristics that might contribute to conditions like OSA. By providing Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy, we complement orthodontic treatments, improving oral health and promoting better sleep quality. Together, as a unified healthcare team, we ensure comprehensive care for our patients, fostering a healthier, happier, and well-rested community. Let us continue to work in harmony with orthodontists and other dental professionals, bridging the gap between dentistry and medicine, and advocating for the well-being of our patients.

Referenced PubMed study: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/37418471/

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