The Bulletin discusses controversy over orofacial myofunctional therapy in treating sleep apnea and TMJ.

Lundy said her specialty, orofacial myofunctional therapy, is still not well understood among the public and other providers. That’s evidenced by the phone calls Lundy and others receive from fellow speech-language pathologists and physicians, who question the science behind their practices.

Speech therapists with myofacial training treat the underlying issues that lead to sleep apnea or TMJ, but not those conditions directly, and not without first consulting medical professionals.

One thing everyone seems to agree on is that routinely breathing through the mouth instead of the nose, which tends to be accompanied by a tongue that sticks partially out, should be evaluated by an expert — usually an ear, nose and throat doctor — to determine whether there’s an issue with the airway. The condition, called mouth breathing, could be caused by something simple like enlarged tonsils.