In a perfect world anyone having orthodontic treatment, or substantial dental treatment should have a Myofunctional Evaluation. This will alert both the patient and the dentist to any potential difficulty that may impact the outcome of treatment. The assumption is often made that if form is changed, then function will follow. Form in this case is the relationship of the teeth to one another, or changes in positioning of the jaw, or major changes in a cosmetic way. The function is the relationship of the oral muscles, primarily the tongue, lips and cheeks and how they impact the dentition.
If these muscles are not retrained or balanced appropriately, then they will resume their prior function and change the relationship of the dentition. This can cause orthodontic relapse, or changes in the relationship of the teeth. Individuals who require dentures often cannot retain them in the mouth because the swallow pattern has not been retrained to hold the teeth in place.
An evaluation would also be beneficial for those scheduling cosmetic dental work that could impact teeth. One should not assume that just because the appearance is being addressed that it does not impact the function of the muscles surrounding the teeth or the gum surfaces. Often periodontal problems result in future cosmetic treatment.
One needs to consider what originally caused the periodontal problem. If a reverse swallow caused the shifting of the teeth, which resulted in periodontal disease, then this will continue after cosmetic treatment unless addressed appropriately. Likewise, when making cosmetic changes to the teeth, one needs to be sure that the muscles will be able to help hold the new dental formation, and not cause it to became another dental nightmare down the road. A Myofunctional evaluation will predetermine if the swallow pattern or oral muscle strength can co- exist and support the changes that cosmetic treatment will create. Once a successful Myofunctional evaluation has been completed, you will have a better understanding of the outcome of your overall cosmetic treatment.
The evaluation can be a means to deter further dental difficulties down the road, or prevent the return of prior conditions. The cost is worth the peace of mind that your dental treatment will likely be more successful.
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