We are pleased to announce that orofacial myofunctional therapy is now being offered in our practice!  One of our registered dental hygienists received her certificate from Neo-Health Services to become an orofacial myologist.

What are Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders (OMD)?

An OMD is when there is an abnormal lip, jaw, or tongue position during rest, swallowing, or speech.  The most common OMD is the term “tongue thrusting” (reverse swallow) which means the tongue moves forward in an exaggerated way when swallowing and/or speaking, or rests too far forward in the mouth.  All of us start out with a tongue thrust swallow as an infant and usually transition out of it as a child through growth and development.  If the transition isn’t made to correct resting tongue posture, it may affect oral and facial development, dentition, appearance, and speech.  OMD’s can be caused by an upper airway obstruction such as enlarged tonsils/adenoids, deviated septum, allergies, prolonged thumb or oral habit, or tongue tie.

What are some signs of OMDs?

  • Open mouth lip posture at rest
  • Pursing or straining of lips to gain closure during swallow
  • Mouth breathing
  • Limited tongue movement
  • Tongue pushes against the teeth or protrudes out of the mouth when swallowing or speaking
  • Chewing foods with mouth open
  • Eating may be difficult or messy
  • Difficulty saying sounds of s, z, sh, ch, j
  • Cross bite or open bite
  • Narrow, vaulted palate
  • Flared incisors or irregular spacing

What is Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy (OMT)?

OMT is an exercise-based treatment program used to treat the function of oral and facial muscles that relate to speech, dentition, chewing, and swallowing.  Orofacial myofunctional therapy can be basically described as rest posture therapy.  At rest, the lips should be closed without the teeth touching, with the tongue resting at the roof of the mouth.  Specific treatments are given to establish and stabilize normal rest posture for the lips and tongue, eliminate habit patterns, and correct swallowing pattern when a tongue thrust is involved.  It often restores normal process of dental eruption and aids in  the retention process following orthodontic treatment.  OMT seeks to prevent or repair the issues of diminished airway, poor facial growth, and misaligned teeth by addressing the underlying etiological issues.  The primary goal of myofunctional therapy is to stabilize a normal resting relationship between the tongue, lips, teeth, and jaws.

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