A guide to myofunctional care for pre-orthodontic treatment to non-invasively correct prolonged imbalances

Led by our accomplished and talented dentist, Dr. Tokiko Poppe, Cosmos Dentistry is proud to provide universally appealing dental care to individuals of all ages across our corner of the Eastside and greater King County, Washington.

From our well-appointed office in Bellevue, Dr. Poppe and our team may recommend advanced appliances and therapies, such as myofunctional therapy, to bring balance to the structures and tissues that make up your mouth, face, and jaws. In doing so, we support the aesthetics of the smile and face and the healthy function that further supports our patients’ overall health and well-being.

An introduction to myofunctional approaches

“Myo” is derived from the Greek word for “muscle”: mŷs. So, the “myofunctional therapies” available at the dentist’s office are designed to restore and sustain the function of those muscles responsible for comfortable, efficient, and natural chewing, swallowing and breathing. Related services may be recommended as a form of “early intervention” for those young patients with developing mouths who otherwise might require more complicated treatment later in life.

These therapies are not, however, limited to the pediatric set. Depending on what Dr. Poppe finds during an evaluation and in consultation with you, myofunctional therapy can be an appropriate option for adults with incorrect swallowing and tongue posture, breathing disorders including snoring and sleep apnea, headaches, joint issues, mouth breathing.

The services behind myofunctional therapy

As indicated above, the exact approach that we take to bring balance to the many parts that make up your whole mouth and maxillofacial “system” varies depending on your needs and the underlying condition that has given rise to functional problems. Generally, though, patients can benefit from the following services:

  • Oral appliances – These appliances come in many designs and forms. But they are all made to easily slip in and out of the mouth. They should be worn by you or your child as directed by Dr. Poppe. Now, some appliances “flex” to support proper nasal breathing, for instance. Other such devices are formulated as “arch expanders.” This means they are firmer and help to create more space in the palate (and to avoid the extraction of teeth later in life). Furthermore, such as palate-expanders also aid in promoting healthy tongue posture and habit correction among those patients with chronic and damaging behaviors (like tongue-thrusting). Still, other appliances help to retain expanded dental arches and may “fine-tune” the correction of misaligned teeth and jaws or bite problems.
  • Physical therapies – Special exercises or myofunctional “activities” are tailored with you or your child’s specific needs and anatomical features in mind. Also characterized as “trainer” therapies, these exercises are designed to correct the habitual behaviors and chronic habits that may have led to long-standing malocclusion and related problems, which require myofunctional care. As an example, we may recommend special activities to “retrain” how to “rest” the lips for a proper and healthy seal that also facilitates “normal” function. These exercises may work in tandem with oral devices to instill proper nasal respiration and optimal positioning of the tongue (which aids in healthy swallowing function).

To find out more about this non-invasive, painless, and proactive approach to correcting many developmental and functional concerns, schedule an appointment at Cosmos Dentistry in Bellevue, WA, today. Our office can be reached at (425) 448-4770. Or, visit the “Patient Portal” to contact us from this website.

Dr. Poppe Sitting

Dr. Tokiko Poppe

Dr. Tokiko Poppe graduated from the University of the Pacific's Arthur Dugoni School of Dentistry in San Francisco. She has received extensive training in all aspects of dentistry and was involved in craniofacial research and studies on cleft lip and palate in school.

Dr. Poppe also completed a General Practice Residency in California, where she cared for medically-compromised adults at Veterans Hospital and children under general anesthesia at the University Medical Center. She is a member of the ADA, AAGO, AAPMD, WSDA, SKCD, AGD, American Laser Study, TBI Ambassadors, and AMR advanced program. She has completed Spear Education which dentists pursue to learn complex restorative dentistry. Dr. Poppe is also an osteopathic-trained dentist, having learned the whole-body approach from osteopathic physicians. She follows continuing education to stay abreast of the latest dental trends and enjoys sharing her knowledge with her community.

She also holds a Japanese dental license and speaks Japanese and English.