Myofunctional Therapy for Obstructive Sleep Apnoea in Adults
Sparkle Dental | 12/12/2016
Traditional front line therapies for obstructive sleep apnoea like CPAP and dental devices (sometimes called Mandibular Advancement Devices), target mechanical obstruction of the airway, and are normally just a bandaid solution.
Myofunctional therapy is emerging as a non-invasive alternative that addresses root causes. It targets the underlying low muscle tone that make the airway more collapsible.
In addition, one of the major sites of airway obstruction is behind the base of the tongue. During sleep as the tongue relaxes, it falls back into the airway causing obstruction.
Myofunctional therapy strengthens the tongue muscle and retrains a normal position. The aim is for constant intimate contact between the entire upper surface of the tongue and the palate, which helps to tongue encroaching in the airway space.
What is the evidence in support of myofunctional therapy for adults with obstructive sleep apnoea?
A number of studies have demonstrated improvements in objective measures in patients that have undergone a program of orofacial myofunctional exercises.
The strongest evidence to date is a meta-analysis that determined it could reduce obstructive sleep apnoea by 50% in adults and 62% in children.
This analysis involved selecting narrowing the evidence base to just 11 of the highest quality studies that compare the effects of intervention to similar groups who have not, and then combining the results to increase the power of the findings.
The conclusion was that myofunctional therapy has a useful role to play as an adjunct to other treatments.
Find out more in this previous blog post
What does this mean for you?
With this type of evidence emerging, tailored solutions will play a more pivotal role in the management of your obstructive sleep apnoea.
Professionals trained in myofunctional therapy can have an important role to play in the team approach to optimising outcomes.
CPAP and dental devices are still considered the front line treatment options, and they offer the greatest immediate improvements in obstructive sleep apnoea. However they are not without limitations when it comes to long-term use.
If a patient is identified as having a lowered tongue posture related to mouth breathing, or restricted tongue tie
, we can weigh up the option to address these root causes and help reduce reliance on bandaid solutions.
Dr Shereen Lim is certified in myofunctional therapy and trained in identifying altered or restricted tongue ties.
To find out more about this therapy and discuss whether it is an option for you, please contact us
Related blog categories: apnoea, myofunctional, sleep, snoring, therapy
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