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  • Writer's pictureMarcia Campagna

Myofunctional therapy and Jaw Surgery

Have you ever noticed that if you have knee surgery or hip surgery your orthopedic surgeon refers you to physical therapy for rehabilitation?

Nowadays, our orofacial maxillary surgeons are realizing the benefits of pre- and post operative rehabilitation for the jaw. They have come to understand that exercises provided by your medical doctor or dentist are NOT therapeutic intervention.

Therapeutic intervention requires skilled healthcare professionals who use neuromuscular re-education training, orthopedic motor learning principals, knowledge of typical development, neurological disorders, and atypical development among other specialized information to habilitate and/or rehabilitate a specific area of the body. Ongoing follow ups with a therapist is what helps you regain or improve function.

Orofacial myofunctional therapy combined with jaw surgery is the gold standard for improving your quality of life. It will help you breathe better, sleep better, chew/swallow better and speak better.

It is recommended to initiate orofacial myofunctional therapy prior to jaw surgery. At Best Speech Therapy, PLLC we will evaluate your jaw, lips, and tongue to determine how well you use these structures for breathing, swallowing, and talking.

Initiating therapy prior to your surgery helps your healthcare team identify your strengths and weaknesses prior to surgery. We are able to use this information during case consults with your oral surgeon, orthodontist and speech pathologist.

By starting orofacial myofunctional therapy before surgery, you give yourself the opportunity, within your limitations, to help your surgeon help you by:

  • Decreasing tension in the face and mouth muscles

  • Improving range of motion of the jaw, lips and tongue

  • Improving coordination of movement for the jaw, lips, and tongue

  • Improving respiration, chewing/swallowing, and talking

  • Getting used to new sensation in the mouth and face

  • Learning facial muscle relaxation techniques without worrying about surgical discomfort

  • Practicing the mechanical swallow to prevent choking during the healing process after surgery

Post-op orofacial myofunctional therapy is meant to:

  • Decrease inflammation and discomfort to speed up your healing

  • Stimulate sensation in the facial nerves to help wake up the nerves after surgery

  • Reduce tension in the face, mouth, neck, and chest regions

  • Increase your mouth opening

  • Rebuild strength in the jaw, lips, and tongue

  • Relearn how to chew appropriately

  • Relearn nasal breathing techniques

  • Achieve appropriate oral rest posture

  • Prevent jaw surgery relapse

  • Prevent orthodontic relapse

If your orthodontist or oral surgeon has recommended jaw surgery, consider getting an initial evaluation with a Speech Pathologist who specializes in orofacial myofunctional therapy before surgery.

You will have an opportunity to set up an evaluation using our online calendar after your submit the forms. Should you need help to schedule an appointment, please complete and submit the forms and someone from our office will connect with you shortly after we receive your forms.

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