Rock Valley Dental

1302 10th Street

Rock Valley, IA 51247

(712) 476-2749

Active Myofunctional Therapy

A ctive Myofunctional therapy is a program of evaluation and exercises used to treat incorrect patterns of muscle functions. The exercises help restore strength and coordination and retrains muscles of the face and tongue. The goal of myofunctional therapy is to optimize functions such as breathing, chewing, swallowing, speaking, occlusion, temporomandibular joint movement, oral hygiene, stability of orthodontic treatment, sleep, facial esthetics, posture, and facial skeletal growth.

Just as physical therapy establishes normal muscle function in the body, Myofunctional therapy helps by training the soft tissues of the face, neck, and mouth to function optimally. Myofunctional therapy is also an important adjunct to numerous orofacial surgeries such as frenuloplasties( ie tongue tie release), tonsillectomy, and mandibular advancement. A big component of myofunctional therapy is the restoration of proper oral rest posture and elimination of mouth breathing habits.

Patients who have undergone treatment have regained enjoyment of eating, breathing, speaking and even sleeping more soundly. Myofunctional therapy is used for patients with TMJ/TMD disorder, sleep disorders, tongue thrusts, and even for improvements in breastfeeding and reduction of finger sucking habits. Research with patients with sleep apnea has demonstrated a decrease in the apnea AHI score by 50% in adults and 62% in children with myofunctional therapy alone (Camacho et al). It has also been shown that despite surgical or orthodontic treatment for sleep disordered breathing (SDB), absence of myofunctional therapy is more likely associated with a relapse of SDB. (Guilleminault et al). Additional to health benefits, cosmetic appearances including the teeth, jawline and face can improve with its use.

Most importantly the habits we train in our youth carryover to adult behavior and the healthy habits established in myofunctional therapy keep the teeth and jaw in alignment to allow for proper lifelong function. This many times eliminates or reduces the need for orthodontic intervention as when the face forms properly the teeth are much more likely to come in straight.

Passive myofunctional therapy is also a form of therapy that includes the use of oral appliances, such as Myobrace, to reinforce the goals of myofunctional therapy. Used together these therapies have been proven successful in early intervention orthodontic treatment, a more stable less invasive and healthy alternative to straight teeth and optimal airway development.

Myofunctional therapy is a well-known researched and used treatment in Brazil, Europe, and the USA, particularly Stanford University. We are proud to say Rock Valley Dental was the first office in the tristate area to have in house myofuctional therapy. Early on hosting one of the most recognized myofunctional therapists in the midwest, Patricia Brinkman-Falter, at our office was foundational to our practice. Patricia is a national speaker on myofunctional therapy amongst other topics and is very versed in airway, tongue tie, and overall oral development knowledge, and was instrumental in the training and transition to airway focused dentistry in our office. Patricia works primarily in Lincoln, NE and you can learn more about her services at:  As the movement continued, we now have had many area speech therapists become certified in our area.  At Rock Valley Dental we are very fortunate to be surrounded by some new and upcoming myofunctional therapists. 

Local Area

Sioux City

dr abbie

Dr. Abbie Gacke, M.A. CCC-SLP, IBCLC


Abbie has specialized experience in treating children, adolescents, and adults with complex medical diagnoses heavily impacted by feeding & swallowing disorders, speech and language disorders, and orofacial myofunctional disorders. Her professional experience began in the Chicago area at an outpatient private pediatric clinic.

Since beginning her career as a Speech-Language Pathologist, Abbie has taken many hours of continuing education in the areas of pediatric/feeding and swallowing, orofacial myofunctional therapy, lactation/infant feeding, and motor speech disorders.

Abbie has a Bachelor's Degree in Communicative Sciences and Disorders from the University of Northern Iowa and a Master's Degree in Speech Language Pathology from the University of Northern Iowa. Abbie is also an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC).

When moving back to the Siouxland area 5 years ago, she was excited to share her passion for empowering families to help their child eat, breathe, and communicate.

Sioux Falls


Vanessa, MA CCC-SLP COM®

Owner/Speech-Language Pathologist

Vanessa is the owner of ASTI and a Speech-Language Pathologist. She received her bachelor’s from Augustana and her master’s from the University of South Dakota. She started her clinic nine years ago and now serves patients in the Sioux Falls and Brandon clinics. Vanessa is interested in early intervention, feeding therapy, motor speech disorders, infant feeding, and orofacial myology. Vanessa is also an instructor for TalkTools™ and a proud creator of a 2-day continuing education course, Feeding Foundations: The Kaleidoscope Model. She also presents at webinars and speaks at various conventions for SLPs, OTs, dentists, and dental hygienists locally and internationally. When she’s not working she loves to spend time with her husband, Ryan, and her sons, Drake and Brooks. She also enjoys traveling with her husband and their favorite destinations are Pawley’s Island, South Carolina, and kid-free vacations to Napa Valley!



Speech-Language Pathologist

Nikki is a Speech-Language Pathologist and received her bachelor’s from Augustana University and her master’s from the University of South Dakota. Nikki sees her patients at the Sioux Falls clinic. Her areas of interest are Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy, tethered oral tissues, and apraxia. In her free time, Nikki loves to watch her children play sports, and go cycling, camping, boating, hiking, or really anything outside!

Additional Resources

Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy for Obstructive Sleep Apnea: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Oral Myofacial Therapy—A Breakthrough Technique to Treat Symptoms Relating to Breathing Problems, TMJ, Headaches and Other Common Ailments


Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy: The Critical Missing Element to Complete Patient Care

Myofunctional Therapy to Treat Obstructive Sleep Apnea: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Myofunctional Therapy A Novel Treatment of Pediatric Sleep-Disordered Breathing

Relapse of anterior open bites treated with orthodontic appliances with and without orofacial myofunctional therapy

Efficacy of orofacial myofunctional therapy combined with myofascial release in patients with mild obstructive sleep apnoea: a randomized controlled trial

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Rock Valley Dental


8:00 AM-4:00 PM


8:00 AM-4:00 PM


8:00 AM-4:00 PM


8:00 AM-4:00 PM