Using Myofunctional Therapy to Treat Underlying Orthodontic Issues with Dr. Holly Baller - T-Bone Speaks
Using Myofunctional Therapy to Treat Underlying Orthodontic Issues with Dr. Holly Baller

Using Myofunctional Therapy to Treat Underlying Orthodontic Issues with Dr. Holly Baller

Join me in this episode of the T-Bone Speaks podcast where I speak with Dr. Holly Baller from Denver, Colorado.

Holly graduated from the University of Colorado in 2016 and is now working as an associate dentist in Denver. She’s a huge advocate for continued education with a strong passion and interest in pursuing implant dentistry and Myofunctional Therapy. Her reasoning for this is because she believes that this is where modern dentistry is heading, and there is massive potential there that she would like to tap into.

On the podcast we discussed:

  • Holly’s unique situation working as an associate in a general dental practice AND an orthodontist practice
  • Benefits of Myobrace and how it’s used to align crooked teeth without braces
  • The current paradigm shift in modern dentistry towards airway treatments and why this is a good thing
  • The underlying issues that can cause orthodontic problems with your children’s teeth including soft tissue dysfunction, mouth breathing, and tongue issues
  • Importance of early treatment for children who are candidates for Myofunctional Therapy
  • What the Schwartz Appliance is and how it can be used to expand the arch and improve airways
  • Vital signs to look out for to help determine whether a patient can benefit from pre-orthodontic treatment
  • The necessary fees associated with Myofunctional Therapy
  • Healthy Start Vs Myobrace and the pros and cons of both appliances

To listen to the podcast episode hit play below:

Here’s a more detailed overview of our discussion…

Working as an Orthodontist Associate

Holly is in a unique situation that I’ve personally never seen before where she works for three days per week as an associate in a general dental practice and two days as an associate in an orthodontist practice.

She began working for Dr. Kent Lauson from Aurora Orthodontics and TMJ 13 years before she graduated from dental school. At the time, her duties were focused on treatment coordinating, and she had the flexibility at work to allow her to complete her undergraduate degree and eventually attend dental school.

Treating the Underlying Causes of Orthodontic Problems

Myobrace is a preventive pre-orthodontic treatment that straightens your teeth without the need for braces. It can work for both children and adults, but it takes a lot longer with adults because the movement of the teeth is much slower.

Holly is somewhat of a Myobrace expert, so I was interested to know more about the treatment and how it can be used to correct orthodontic related issues.

Surprisingly, if you treat a child between the age of five and seven, they’re 90% less likely to need braces. This is because, with the Myobrace system, you’re addressing the root cause and the underlying reason why the child has an orthodontic problem.

You have to wear the appliance for 2 to 3 hours during the day and all night. Lips have to be closed, and you must breathe through your nose. Eventually, your muscle memory kicks in and you won’t need to think about breathing through your nose because it’ll just happen naturally.

Root Causes of Crooked Teeth

Many underlying factors can impact the condition of someone’s teeth, including:

•    Soft Tissue Dysfunction

•    Mouth Breathing

•    Tongue Issues

•    Muscles in the face and cheeks

Incorrect breathing is one of the leading causes that leads to someone needing orthodontic treatment. If a child doesn’t breathe properly, they receive 40% less oxygen when they sleep, which means they’re waking up tired and more likely to try and pick themselves up by becoming ‘hyperactive.’

The tongue can also impact your teeth. As Holly put it, the tongue exerts 500 grams of pressure, and it takes under 2 grams of pressure to move a tooth. So, imagine how much damage your tongue can do to your teeth if you don’t solve the issue with something like a Myobrace?

Myobrace can help train your tongue to remain in the proper position in your mouth which is in your pallet, just behind your front teeth.

Importance of Early Treatment

By the time a child turns seven years old, 70% of their facial growth is complete. So, you want to spot the signs as early as possible so that you can guide the teeth into the right position.

Using Myofunctional Therapy to Treat Underlying Orthodontic Issues with Dr. Holly Baller

Holly talked about using the Schwartz Appliance, which is a removable expansion appliance used to reshape or expand the mouth. It can expand the arch, improve airways and create more space for the teeth to come down or solve an overcrowding issue.

Signs that a Patient may require Myofunctional Therapy

If you’re a general dentist or practitioner, there are a few tell-tale signs you can look out for when treating younger patients to help determine whether they (or their parents) should consider this type of treatment, which includes:

•    Hyperactive behavior (resulted from a lack of sleep due to breathing difficulties)

•    A tongue tie

•    Overbites, cross bites and underbites, etc.

•    Overcrowding of the teeth

If this is something that you want to get into as a dentist and start offering it as a potential service in your practice, Holly suggests taking a Myobrace course, a Healthy Start course or a Myofunctional Therapy Course.

Healthy Start VS Myobrace

Healthy Start and Myobrace are the two main appliances in today’s market, but which one is better?

When you start a child off with Healthy Start, you use the first appliance, which is called a Habit Corrector and costs around $700 to $900.

Myobrace is less expensive because it’s not custom fit to the patient in the same way that Healthy Start is. With Healthy Start, you’ll receive a lot of direction and guidance, so you know exactly what to do next. Myobrace, on the other hand, requires more training because you need to know which appliance to transition to next and how/when you will make the transition.

Healthy Start is generally better suited for children. Holly usually puts a child who is 12 years or older on Myobrace because it’s a lot more useful and effective for young people and adults.

I asked Holly which appliance she preferred, and she said that there are elements to both that she would like to combine together to create her own appliance.

As I always say, it’s not about the product you use, it’s about the knowledge you gain to choose which product is appropriate.

Get in Touch with Holly

If you would like to get in touch with Dr. Holly Baller and find out more about Myofunctional Therapy, you can email her at

If you enjoyed this podcast episode, please follow 3D Dentists on Facebook to keep up with our latest courses and head over to the T-Bone Speaks Facebook page  to stay updated with the latest podcast episodes!


About the Author Tarun Agarwal

Dr. Tarun Agarwal represents the next generation of leadership for the dental profession. As a respected speaker, author and opinion leader, he is changing the way general dentists and their teams practice.

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