My Myo and Tongue Tie Journey

by | Jul 31, 2023 | Airway, Myofunctional Therapy | 0 comments

As I started to learn more tethered oral tissues (TOTs) and orofacial myofunctional therapy, I quickly realized I actually had many of the symptoms for both TOTs and orofacial myofunctional disorder (OMD). I want to share my story to encourage other adults to look more deeply into their symptoms and overall health. We only have experience of what it feels like to live in our own bodies. As adults, it can be challenging to realize when something is not “normal” because it feels normal to us. It is important to distinguish things that are common vs. things that are normal. I quickly learned that many of the things I experience are common, but not normal and that I could greatly improve my quality of life.

My Symptoms

– TMJ Clicking/Popping
– Clenching/Grinding
– Poor posture
– Mouth breathing at night
– Difficulty breathing during sports/physical activities
– Neck/Shoulder pain
– Teeth misalignment
– Difficulty sleeping
– Do not feel rested, even with a full night’s sleep
– Frequent cavities, despite proper oral hygiene

My Clinical Symptoms

As I started doing myofunctional therapy with my clients, I started noticing clinical signs of my TOTs/OMD as well
– Improper rest posture
– Inability to elevate back of tongue at rest/swallow
– Improper intake when cup and straw drinking
– Insufficient chewing to break down foods for swallow
– Significant nasal collapse

All of these symptoms are signs of orofacial myofunctional disorders!

 

My Treatment

I started doing myofunctional exercises on my own to improve my rest posture and swallow. My next step was to go to an airway dentist. I went to Dr. Lupita Roca and have nothing but excellent things to say about her. She did a thorough examination, sent me for a CBCT scan of my airway, and had me wear a sleep ring for two nights to analyze my sleep. We were both shocked at the results.

My airway is incredibly narrow (shown in the picture above). I originally went to Dr. Roca hoping to release my tongue tie. After seeing the scan, she knew that releasing my tongue would cause even more obstruction and difficulty breathing. Her suggestion was to do maxiliary skeletal expansion (MSE) to expand my palate to make more room for my tongue, which would in turn keep my tongue out of my airway. I was hoping to get a removable device to wear at night such as the Homeobloc or the Vivos DNA. The news that I needed a more invasive and permanent device was quite a shock!

I decided to move forward and got a Miniscrew-Assisted Rapid Palatal Expansion (MARPE) device. This device has 6 small screws anchoring it to my palate. I use a little wrench to turn the device to expand my palate each day. Because my maxilla (upper jaw) is also retruded, I have to wear reverse-pull headgear 12-16 hours a day as well to help pull my upper jaw forward (to create even more space in my airway).

 

3 Weeks In

Week 1: I was initially in pain after the device was installed. I had to adjust to the metal in my mouth making it hard to eat and talk. About 5 days into the device, I turned the expander and an hour later started to notice tingling and pressure near my front teeth. That morning, I woke up and my teeth were no longer touching. My palatal suture had split! Week 2: The pain began to subside and I continued to adjust to the device. The space between my two front teeth continued to grow. I could feel my nasal passages expanding. Week 3: I no longer feel any pain. It is much easier to eat, but food does get stuck easily in the device which is annoying. The space between my two front teeth continues to grow which is making me a bit self-conscious. It is also affecting my speech! My nasal passages continue to expand as well, and breathing is continuing to get easier.  

Follow Along!

This process is difficult, but I am excited to see an improvement in my symptoms and to be able to empathize even more with my clients. I am planning to share more of my journey over on my Instagram/Tik Tok! I will continue to post updates on the blog as well. Please follow along and email me with any questions you may have about this process.