Tongue thrusting, deviate swallowing, mouth breathing, orofacial muscle imbalance, deviate mandibular movement and malocclusion are the most important orofacial dysfunctions underlying disorders of articulation. Their development is linked to early bottle feeding and sucking habits. The phoniatrician is charged with the early detection of orofacial dysfunctions affecting speech. Early correction of habits and retraining by speech therapy are important preventive measures. Case histories, phoniatrie and myofunctional diagnoses and dental/orthodontic findings were compiled for a total of 103 patients aged 3-30 years (11 ± 4 years). Forty-five patients have completed a regimen of myofunctional therapy. For these patients highly significant improvements in lip strength, lip closure, breathing and tongue placement as well as in the swallowing pattern and orofacial muscle balance have been observed. Concomitantly, two thirds of the patients (66%) attained normal articulation. Speech defects were resistant to therapy in only 2 cases. In dental/orthodontic practice myofunctional therapy is used for retraining abnormal positions and functions of the orofacial muscles so as to create a normal occlusal relationship. The results of this study show that myofunctional therapy is highly instrumental also in phoniatrics as a special form of treatment for disorders of articulation.

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