I am an independent registered dental hygienist, orofacial myofunctional therapist, lactation counselor and mama to George. Our challenges with breastfeeding and oral ties led me to the field of myofunctional therapy and opened my eyes to how our health, sleep and overall wellbeing are directly impacted by the tongue, breathing, craniofacial development and airway.
Throughout my career as a dental hygienist, I have always been passionate about the link between oral health and overall health. After learning about myofunctional disorders and their wide reaching effects on the body, I knew I needed to take the leap from traditional dentistry to a more holistic and functional approach. I am so excited to be able to help patients improve their quality of life by supporting healthy jaw and airway development in babies and children and by helping adults resolve symptoms and conditions related to myofunctional disorders.
Interested in working with me?
As a mom myself, I believe that all parents deserve to be informed and supported so that they feel confident in how they choose to feed their baby. Many breast/chestfeeding parents face challenges such as sore nipples, difficulty latching, oral ties, supply issues and reflux which may negatively impact their lactation journey. With training in lactation counselling, infant craniosacral therapy and oral function, I offer in-office or virtual lactation support to help parents achieve their feeding goals and feel empowered when nourishing their child.
is an exercise-based treatment modality for symptoms and conditions related to the face, mouth and jaws, otherwise known as orofacial myofunctional disorders.
Treatment involves the neuromuscular re-education of dysfunctional muscles of the mouth and face. Exercises are given at each session to improve breathing, tongue posture, lip seal and correct chewing and swallowing patterns. Depending on symptoms, specific exercises will address individual needs such as oral ties, jaw pain and sleep apnea.
It is important to note that the success of myofunctional therapy relies largely on the patient's compliance with the exercises.
Patients see improvements in their symptoms by restoring normal muscle function and eliminating dysfunctional breathing patterns and oral habits. The results that have been achieved from myofunctional therapy are truly life changing.
WHO WOULD BENEFIT FROM MYO?
Signs and symptoms that you or your child would benefit from myofunctional therapy include mouth breathing, snoring, jaw pain, sleep apnea, low tongue posture, oral ties, tongue thrust, orthodontic relapse, teeth grinding/clenching, head and neck tension, ADHD, behavioural issues, anxiety, depression, insomnia, recurrent dental disease, bedwetting, night terrors, and digestive problems.
Did you know most craniofacial development is complete by five years of age? The Mini Myo program was developed for patients under five using play based therapy, oral habit elimination and basic exercises for the child and parent to do at home to promote nasal breathing, lip seal, proper tongue posture and correct chewing & swallowing. Programs vary from 1-3 sessions based on individual needs and follow up sessions are recommended as the child undergoes growth and development.
The lingual frenum is a thin piece of soft tissue that connects the tongue to the bottom of the mouth. Ankyloglossia (tongue tie) occurs when the frenum is abnormally short and may restrict tongue mobility. Tongue ties, along with lip and cheek ties, can directly impact breast/chestfeeding but are so much more than just a lactation issue. Untreated oral ties can lead to difficulties with speech and feeding, underdeveloped jaws, dental crowding and disease, sleep disordered breathing, head and neck tension, jaw pain, and digestive issues. Although it is beyond a dental hygienist, myofunctional therapist, and lactation consultant's scope of practice to make a diagnosis, I work closely with release providers to ensure oral restriction is addressed appropriately.
SLEEP DISORDERED BREATHING
Sleep disordered breathing refers to a spectrum of conditions caused by altered breathing during sleep including mouth breathing, upper airway resistance syndrome (UARS), snoring, and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
Mouth breathing, noisy breathing and snoring are all early warning signs for UARS and OSA. It is not a question of “if” but “when” mild disease (mouth breathing & snoring) will advance to severe disease (OSA), and it is imperative to treat SBD early in the spectrum. As a myofunctional therapist, I do not provide diagnoses and will refer to your medical doctor if symptoms of OSA are present.
OMT is a viable adjunct to the treatment of SDB as therapy strengthens the tongue & soft palate to prevent the tissue from falling into the airway and causing physical obstruction. Current literature demonstrates that OMT decreases apnea-hypopnea index (the scale used to determine the severity of sleep apnea) by 50% in adults and 62% in children. (Camacho, et al, 2015.)
JAW PAIN (TMD)
“98% of TMJ disorders are directly related to low tongue posture.” -Dr. Priya Mistry.
The tongue plays an important role in stabilizing the mandible (lower jaw). If the tongue is in the wrong position or is not functioning properly, the jaw cannot be stable.
By achieving proper tongue posture, restoring nasal breathing, correcting dysfunctional chewing and swallowing patterns, and strengthening the orofacial muscles, patients can see improvements in pain, range of motion, and other related symptoms.
Like most myofunctional disorders, a team-based approach to care including doctors, dentists, orthodontists, chiropractors and other bodyworkers is crucial for success.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHY HAVEN'T I HEARD OF OMT BEFORE?
Myofunctional therapy and airway dentistry are an emerging field that has not yet been incorporated in medical and dental school curriculums. As patients and health care providers are beginning to look at the body as a whole rather than separate systems and specialties, OMT is gaining recognition in the health and science communities with recent studies highlighting its effectiveness in patients suffering from jaw pain, sleep apnea and ADHD.
DO YOU ONLY SEE BABIES AND CHILDREN?
No! Although jaw and airway development is complete, adults undergoing therapy see significant improvements in symptoms related to myofunctional disorders. Treatment for OMDs differ based on age but regardless, I work in collaboration with doctors, dentists, orthodontist, speech language pathologists, chiropractors, and physiotherapist to ensure all individual needs are met.
ARE SERVICES COVERED BY INSURANCE?
We do not offer direct billing but provide receipts that you may submit to insurance after your appointment. Myofunctional therapy is within the dental hygiene scope of practice and can be covered by some dental plans. Lactation services may also be covered by personal insurance but it is important to check with your insurance provider if reimbursement is a concern.