The Mouth Works. The Mouth WORKS. The MOUTH works. The mouth works??

Yes! Your mouth works! Your mouth works for you 24 hours a day. Swallowing. Chewing. Smiling. Talking. Supporting your sinus cavities. Keeping your airway open. More than you can imagine. Your mouth never rests. It always works!

How well the mouth works varies from person to person. You are here seeking answers on how to move to the point where you, or someone you care for, has a mouth that is functioning in a way that keeps you as healthy, pain free and physically attractive as possible. You have come to the right place. Please come in, look around and then contact us for a no-obligation consultation. You are welcome here!


Mira Kirkland, RDH, is an active member of the International Association of Orofacial Myology, the American Dental Hygienists’ Association and the Texas Dental Hygienists’ Association.  She has an active private practice, The Mouth Works, as well as continuing in practice as a dental hygienist with a prominent San Antonio dentist.  Her dental hygiene practice spans over 4 decades, beginning in Florida and continuing in Texas.

Ms Kirkland has trained under some of the best known names in Orofacial Myology:

  • The Academy of Orofacial Myofuctional Therapy with Joy Moeller and Barbara Green
  • The Coulson Institute of Orofacial Myology with Sandra Coulson and Karen Samuel
  • Numerous presenters at the International Association of Orofacial Myology’s International Convention
  • Distinguished presenters at the American Academy of Craniofacial Pain Summer Symposium, 2012

Active in the community, Mira Kirkland has a distinguished record as a volunteer, having received the Yellow Rose of Texas award, the highest civilian award a woman in Texas can receive, and was nominated for Volunteer of the Year for Bexar County for her work with youth.  Music is one of her passions and she sings with the Sanctuary Choir of First Baptist Church of San Antonio as well as having sung at Carnegie Hall with the San Antonio Choral Society.

A good orofacial myotherapist needs empathy and compassion.  Having suffered with an orofacial myofunctional disorder of severe TMJ dysfunction, Mira literally has felt your pain and shares your goals.  She feels blessed to have been brought to this place, and loves helping people improve their health and their appearance through orofacial myology.

We look forward to learning your story very soon!

About The Mouth Works

The Mouth Works is a division of Myotherapy Institute Regional Associates, LLC. Orofacial Myotherapy Associates of South Texas is our “formal” name and both names are registered DBAs.

Mira! Bella! (Look Beautiful) is also a division of Myotherapy Institute Regional Associates, LLC and offers Facial Rejuvenation.

Future plans include more therapists, more locations around the country and many, many more people reaping the benefits of Orofacial Myotherapy.

Myotherapy Institute Regional Associates, LLC has been founded on Christian principles and is dedicated to the glory of God. Our goal is that all we do will reflect excellence and people will know the love of God through their contact with us. Our mission is to provide the best Orofacial Myotherapy possible in a manner that honors God.

If you ever have any problems with anything we do please let us know immediately so that we can do our best to be found above reproach.

If you are pleased with us, please let us know and please, please, please let your friends know! Your referrals provide a life-line for our business. Thank You!

What is Orofacial Myology?

Orofacial Myology involves the synthesis of so many areas of expertise that the definitions seem to be infinite. Trying to articulate all that it involves in a simple way is challenging.  The following will give you an overview:

“The study and treatment of oral and facial muscles as they relate to speech, dentition, chewing/bolus collection, swallowing and overall mental and physical health.”

(Sandra Holtzman)

Orofacial Myology

  • Enhances the quality of life
  • Corrects noxious habits that may affect growth and development
  • Addresses the causes of many problems rather than chasing the symptoms.

    (Joy Moeller)

Orofacial Myology treatment includes

  • Improvement of muscle tonicity
  • Establishment of correct functional activities of the tongue, lips and mandible
  • Using simple and fun methods
  • Exercises create patterns of muscle function to aid in the creation and maintenance of a healthy, adaptive environment of the face and mouth.

    (Sandra Holtzman)

In other words, orofacial myologists help people use the muscles of their face and mouth to breathe, chew and swallow in a functionally correct and healthy way.

Orofacial Myofunctional disorders are “any pattern involving oral and or orofacial musculature that interferes with normal growth, development or funciton of structures or calls attention to itself.”

  (ASHA, 1993)

These conditions can be improved with Orofacial Myotherapy:

Thumb sucking, finger, blanket and pacifier sucking, nail biting
Tongue thrust-- forward tongue rest posture
Abnormal swallowing patterns
Abnormal functional breathing patterns
Abnormal neuromuscular patterns related to bolus formation, deglutition and mastication
Forward Head Posture
Open Mouth Posture
Teeth Moving after Orthodontics
Food lodging in the vestibule above the teeth (aging mouth dysfunction-- “long of tooth”)

Orofacial Myotherapists do not directly treat TMJ Dysfunction or Obstructive Sleep Apnea but there is evidence that those suffering with these problems may see improvement after therapy.  We see many patients with these conditions who have found improvement in these symptoms.

 What can I expect?
The best results are obtained when the exercises are done daily.
Therapy generally lasts between 4 and 12 months.  The program can be modified to fit your schedule and budget.  Appointments range from weekly to monthly.
The exercises do not cause pain.  Many of them are fun and even a little silly.
Caution: laughter may be a side-effect.
A major side effect of the therapy is improved appearance.  We’re sorry, we can’t seem to avoid that and you’ll just have to live with looking younger and more attractive!

Facial Rejuvenation-  When the muscles tighten the face looks better, younger, lifted without injections or surgery.  It has been reported that in Brazil plastic surgeons work with Orofacial Myotherapists to get the best benefit for their patients. For those seeking this benefit please visit Mira!Bella! Facial Rejuvenation.


Take our Self Test to find out if you can benefit from Orofacial Myotherapy

Self Test:  Review the following questions to see if you or your child may benefit from Orofacial Myotherapy

  1.  Do you have chronic headaches?
  2.  Do you have an “open mouth rest posture”? (Is your mouth hanging open most of the time?)
  3.  Have your teeth moved after orthodontic treatment?
  4.  Do you have an open bite?
  5.  Do you have TMD (jaw) or neck pain?
  6.  Do you have a scalloped tongue from pressing against the teeth?
  7.  Do you have habits such as thumb or finger sucking, nail biting, lip licking or chewing, pen biting or hair chewing?
  8.   Does your tongue come forward against the teeth when swallowing? Do you grimace when you swallow?
  9.  Are you a “messy eater”?  Noisy? Dropping food from your mouth?
  10.  Do you get food caught in that area above your teeth (the vestibule)?
  11.   Are your gums red around your front teeth because you breath through your mouth?
  12.   Do you grind or clench your teeth?
  13.   Do you have chronic stomach aches from swallowing air, burping, drooling or hiccups?
  14.   Are you “tongue-tied”?
  15.   Where is your tongue right now?  Is it positioned up in the palate where it belongs or is it pressing against or between the teeth?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions please consider calling for a consultation.


My experience with Mira Kirkland at The Mouth Works, Orofacial Myology Associates was a good one. I learned effective exercises that could help with my TMJ pain; and learned more about the anatomy and nature of the problems I was having. While I also found that exercise, good nutrition, and keeping stress in check were all very important to keeping TMJ pain in check, I found that orofacial myology (therapy) can be a great addition to a TMJ treatment plan.

- - MS
Adult Male