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dave henrichsen

Kenmore Myo

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"My life vision is to help people find health, happiness, and joy. It starts with breathing and encompasses so much more. Movement, nutrition, exercise, mental wellness, financial wellness, the ability to handle and manage stress and family dynamics — all of these factors contribute to your health."

- Dave Henrichsen, RDH, OMT

 

a unique vantage point on a lifetime of health

Both as a dental hygienist and as a myofunctional therapist, Dave’s mission is to encourage people to establish healthy habits for better health


As a dental hygienist, Dave sees the entire human lifespan as he serves patients from infancy into old age. “I’ll often have a 1-year-old patient followed by an 89-year-old patient right after. On a daily basis I see what happens when you haven’t taken good care of yourself and what happens when you do.” Dave sees how oral health impacts overall health and even life expectancy. “If you are 50 years old and have sleep apnea, diabetes, and heart disease, you’re probably going to have a lower quality of life and fewer years to live.”

Dave often sees his patients for many years and sees many of their family members, too.


"I see whole families — kids, grandkids, siblings, so I can see patterns over generations. Tongue ties have a genetic factor, so you start to connect the dots."

dave-henrichsen-myofunctional-therapist-familyDave’s journey into myofunctional therapy began with one of his dental hygiene patients — a 7-year-old girl who was a mouth breather and had a tongue sucking habit. Dave tried to contact several professionals to help her but didn’t get a response. Six months later he saw the same little girl again.

“I could see that her bite was opening up, which is not good, and I realized we had to do something to help her.” And then came the “aha” moment. “I realized that the reason she couldn’t stop sucking her thumb was because she was using it for a reason. It turned out that she had a tongue tie and needed her thumb to open up her airway.” With a tongue tie release procedure and myofunctional therapy, the little girl was able to open up her airway, stop sucking her thumb, and return to healthy breathing through her nose.

This experience was a turning point for Dave. He began to realize that dysfunction can have its roots as early as childhood and infancy. Oral restrictions can cause babies and children to unconsciously resort to dysfunctional behaviors due to an oral restriction in order to survive. He started learning about tongue position, and nose breathing and putting the tongue on the roof of the mouth. Dave realized that the best way he could help people achieve a lifetime of health was to get an education in myofunctional therapy.

 

supporting healthy human development

On a mission to help you rediscover your "physiological normal"


“We are all built and designed to do certain myofunctional-therapist-henrichsenthings with our bones and our muscles, my job is to teach you how to use them the right way.”

Most myofunctional issues arise when your body adapts in order to survive. “The human body is extremely resilient and we will find a way to live even if it is not ideal. My mission is to help you get you back to physiologic normal.”

In his myofunctional therapy practice in Kenmore, Washington, Dave teaches normal function and helps people (especially children and young adults between 10-25 years of age) prepare for tongue tie release procedure and restore healthy function post-procedure.

Before entering the dental field, Dave worked for many years with the Boy Scouts and was a camp director for 10 years. He draws upon this experience mentoring and guiding young adults and the teenage population in their transition from childhood to adulthood.

Many of my patients are in this window in which my youth development experience is very useful in helping them succeed at therapy.

 

how do myofunctional issues affect overall health?

Making the connections to improve your health as a whole


Dave often uses analogies to help explain how myofunctional issues affect overall health. For example, if your body is a car and the air pressure in one tire is low, it will affect the alignment of the vehicle and the life of the tire. If you can’t put the tongue tip on the roof of your mouth to swallow, you will develop unhealthy patterns.

As time goes on you may develop problems with your jaw joint and teeth. This can lead to cavities, gum disease, snoring, and even sleep apnea. These issues can be related to high blood pressure, depression, anxiety, and inability to handle stress. The tip of the tongue is like the tip of the iceberg when it comes to overall health. It's all about disease prevention.

 

untangling behavior and function for better health

Collaborating with you & a team of professionals to get you or your loved one the complete care you deserve


Dave’s patient-centered philosophy seeks to find the root cause of dysfunction. “With an infant, it is a much straighter path, it is so much harder for adults with tongue tie because they have layers of compensation and dysfunctional behaviors such as mouth breathing.” The later a tongue tie is caught, the more difficult it is to correct behavior. “If you are an adult with tongue tie, your whole body is trying to help compensate for your restriction. The further you are along that path, the harder it is to untangle.”

Dave begins by asking key questions such as: Why can’t you get your lips sealed together? Do you have sleep apnea? Is this a tongue tie issue? How do you chew? How do you swallow? What can your physiological features tell about your health?

Then he guides his patients with a plan that includes muscle isolation, breathing therapies, suctioning skills, learning to breathe through the nose, and re-learning how to swallow and breathe properly.

Dave plays close attention to his patient’s life history and background. “I want to understand how you grew and developed. Then we work together to create a plan to get you as close to physiological normal as possible so that your body can function in the most beneficial way for you.”

Dave collaborates with other myofunctional therapists, surgeons, dentists, orthodontists, osteopaths, and chiropractors to make sure his patients have a team of specialized support.

 

“Find health providers who will listen to you, who are open to learning, and who truly care about how you and your child are doing. I often meet parents who have been to 7 doctors trying to get them to understand that their child has tongue tie. The most important thing is finding a provider who listens and truly seeks to understand what you are going through."

 

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