Pediatric Myofunctional Therapy in Huntington Beach and Pico Rivera, CA

Good oral healthcare includes more than brushing, flossing, and seeing a dentist regularly for checkups. For some children, specialized treatments such as myofunctional therapy can be highly beneficial, particularly in the case of an orofacial myofunctional disorder (OMD). Dr. Shalini Shah and the experienced pediatric dentistry team at A Kids Dentist are pleased to offer pediatric myofunctional dentistry services at our offices in Huntington Beach and Pico Rivera, California.

What Is an OMD?

For proper function, the muscles in the face, jaw, mouth, tongue, and neck must work seamlessly, both independently and together. An orofacial myofunctional disorder occurs when one (or more) of these components is improperly positioned. In addition to interfering with growth and development, an OMD can cause a host of eating, breathing, and speech problems. A common example is tongue thrust, which occurs when the tongue presses too far forward in the mouth.

OMDs can have a variety of causes, including:

  • Restricted nasal airways due to enlarged tonsils, a deviated septum, or allergies
  • Thumb or finger sucking
  • Nail biting
  • Jaw clenching
  • Teeth grinding
  • Extended use of a pacifier or sippy cup
  • A structural abnormality, such as a tongue tie
  • A hereditary disposition

What Does Myofunctional Therapy Involve?

Myofunctional therapy has two key components:


You might think of myofunctional therapy as a specialized type of physical therapy designed to strengthen and coordinate the muscles in your child’s face, jaw, mouth, tongue, and neck. A trained therapist at A Kids Dentist will teach your child how to perform an individualized program of daily exercises to establish new neuromuscular patterns. The exercises are simple, quick, and fun to do!

An Orthodontic Appliance

Your child may also benefit from wearing a custom-made, removable orthodontic appliance designed to gradually improve any anatomical abnormalities that may be contributing to their OMD. By supplementing the forces of the muscles in your child’s face, jaw, mouth, tongue, and neck, the appliance can help their body catch up on missed development. Depending on your child’s needs and goals, they may wear their appliance for minutes, hours, or all day.

Start Treatment As Soon As Possible

With pediatric myofunctional therapy, your child can experience the joys of proper chewing, swallowing, speaking, breathing, and sleeping. Additionally, the resulting cosmetic enhancements can help your child gain confidence and self-esteem.

With that said, the treatment takes time to work, and the sooner your child begins, the sooner they will benefit. If you have questions about orofacial myofunctional dentistry or would like to request an appointment for your child at our kid-friendly office in Huntington Beach or Pico Rivera, CA, contact A Kids Dentist today.