About Jill and Reflective Smiles

Myofunctional Therapist

Hello!  My name is Jill Savolt, and I am a practicing Registered Dental Hygienist  and Orofacial Myologist.  I have over 20 years of dental experience, hold licenses in California and this GREAT state of Texas, and have owned and operated my own private practice since 2014.

I have a Bachelors degree in Dental Hygiene and a Bachelors degree in Oral Health Promotion.

I have advanced specialized training in Orofacial Myology through the AOMT, IAOM, and the Graduate School of Behavioral Sciences. I trained with Patrick McKeown in the Buteyko Breathing Method, and continue to stay abreast of the latest research and studies in this field.

I am a wife, and mother to our beautiful daughter, Victoria (who had her own share of orofacial hardships), and we share our home with our two cats Bodhi and Jazzy.

Reflective Smiles was created out of necessity.  I wanted a place where people could  easily go and learn about simple dental health, products, and therapies of benefit to them.  Since oral health promotion and Myofunctional Therapy are two areas I am very passionate about.  It brings me joy to be able to educate, teach,  and coach others on how to prevent dental disease and provide therapy to those in need.

To date I have looked in, worked on and assessed over 25,000 mouths.  I am always learning something new.  I continue to take hands on courses, seminars, and learn new ideas and information pertaining to airway, breathing, TMJ dysfunctions, breathing sleep disorders, neuromuscular dentistry, cranial nerves, fascia, whole body health, nutrition, and of course, orofacial myology.

 

What makes me qualified?

Dental Hygienists undergo a rigorous education in the PREVENTION of oral health disease inclusive of studies in microbiology, anatomy, physiology, chemistry, and nutrition.  This is followed by an additional two years of dental hygiene science curriculum and clinical patient interaction.

Why is this important to know?  I want to underline the positive impact your dental hygienist can have on your dental and overall health, and to highlight the education they have completed in order to earn their license.  Hygienists study how to PREVENT dental disease, dentists and doctors study how to FIX it.

Professional Training

  • Registered Dental Hygienist  2001
  • Bachelors of Science Degree in Dental Hygiene
  • Bachelors of Science Degree in Oral Health Promotion
  • AOMT Myofunctional Therapy 2006, 2014
  • AOMT Advanced Myofunctional Therapy (Sleep, TMD, and Posture)  2014
  • Four Day Course Myofunctional Therapy with Barbara Greene  2013
  • Buteyko Breathing with Patrick McKeown  2014
  • Graduate School of Behavioral Sciences  (Certified Orofacial Myology Specialist)  2018

 

My personal Struggle with Myofunctional Disorders

Growing up, I easily could have been the child spokesperson for Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders.

From birth I exhibited signs of facial/structural distress as I was born with the “help” of forceps.  I was left with a facial scar on the right side of my face that took years to fade.  I was unable to breast feed due to a lip and tongue tie, and was given a bottle to nurse instead.  Had my posterior tongue tie been diagnosed at birth or as a pre teen, my life would have gone differently.

Results of being bottle fed, sucking my thumb, and the lack of being able to elevate my tongue to help shape the roof of my mouth led to the development of my high and narrow upper palatal arch.  By the age of 9, I had a huge dental overbite, over jet, tongue thrust, and an open mouth posture (which my tonsils may have played a huge part in).  I was unable to breathe through my nose properly, unable to maintain a proper lip seal , unable to swallow correctly, unable to swallow pills, and struggled, and worked twice as hard as the others to keep up in sports.  As a result, I became a chronic mouth breather and was constantly plagued with allergies, itchy pink eyes, tonsillitis, strep throat, adult onset asthma, and the inability to wake up fully rested….EVER!

open mouth posture

open mouth posture vs. lip competence

Thankfully when I was 11, my father was able to save up and put me through braces.  I could not wait to have my teeth fixed and be “normal”.  I was tired of struggling to eat with my mouth closed and fighting to cover my huge front teeth with my very short upper lip.  I was also tired of being ridiculed by other kids for something that was out of my control.  I was already a born introvert so this did not boost my confidence.  By the 8th grade my huge overbite had been corrected, but my orofacial dysfunctional patterns were still present.  I don’t know why this concept is still so hard to get through to dentists and orthodontists to date.  You can straighten and widen the dental arches all day long, but if you never correct the dysfunctional muscle patterns that contributed to the issues in the first place,  then you never succeed, you never have full resolution,  and you have done that patient a huge disservice setting them up for a lifetime of dysfunction and pain.

Traditional orthodontics puts a focus on “straightening teeth”, instead of focusing on the BIG picture involving form, function, and muscles all working together in harmonious occlusion.  As a result of traditional orthodontics (complete with 4 permanent pre molar extractions, which research now links to airway issues ), I  suffered with jaw joint pain and muscle soreness which made it difficult to chew and sing for more than one song on the radio.  I clenched and bruxed (I apologize to my sister Karen), I often had headaches, neck aches, and sinus congestion.  My jaws ached and I was never relaxed.  I finally had a tonsillectomy at the age of 22.  Although this helped my allergies and strep throat issues, it did not train or educate me on how to breathe properly, elevate my tongue, or correct my mouth breathing.  Only therapy can.  In my early  20’s,  I was diagnosed with asthma.  I later learned that asthma is brought on by dysfunctional breathing, such as over breathing, and or  chest/mouth breathing.  Proper breathing (NASAL BREATHING) is SO important for a multitude of things including the regulation of hormones, body temperature and sleeping patterns.  It reduces the amount of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) released during exhaling, and helps release the Oxygen attached to red blood cells to ensure that the Oxygen is released to all other cells.  It releases Nitric Oxide (vasodilator) into the body, and filters the air we breathe.

thumb sucking

thumb sucking

It wasn’t until 2006, when I attended my first 4 day course in Myofunctional Therapy at USC with Joy Moeller, Barbara Greene and Licia Paskay, that my life would be altered in a drastic and positive manner. For the first time in my life I understood how all of my oral dysfunctional patterns were related to each other, and the reasons my lips, tongue and facial muscles operated in a non harmonious fashion.  I instantly felt validated and I knew that my life would soon improve with Orofacial Myology.  It honestly changed my world for the better, and I would love the opportunity to see it change yours too.  Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Remember… your mouth is the mirror to your overall health!

Jill Savolt, RDH, B.S