Orofacial Myology: What are Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders?

Orofacial Myology

What are Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders (OMDs)?

 

Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders are health problems associated with improper use of the oral and facial musculature. Some common OMDs can be, but are not limited to:

  • Tongue Thrust (most common)
  • Post Orthodontic Treatment Relapse
  • Tongue Tie
  • Enlarged Tonsils and Adenoids
  • Short Upper Lip
  • Bunched Chin/Mentalis
  • Long, narrow face
  • Mouth Breathing
  • Issues with Speech
  • Sloppy Eating
  • Dental Malocclusions
  • Clenching/Grinding
  • Thumb/Finger/Tongue Sucking
  • Jaw/TMJ Pain

 

Ideally, the tongue rests at the top of the palate without contacting any teeth. A tongue thrust occurs when the tongue pushes against the teeth during a swallow. It only takes a small amount of continuous pressure to tilt the anterior teeth outwards. More importantly, a tongue thrust, or tongue thrust swallowing pattern causes post-orthodontic treatment relapse.

 

Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy (OMT)

Treatment includes non-invasive, exercise-based therapy. The goal is to raise awareness and maximize how the oral and facial muscles are being used. Exercises are targeted towards promoting proper tongue placement, lip closure, nasal breathing, speaking, chewing and swallowing.

Treatment is individual based and time frames vary. This is to be discussed further in-depth following a thorough initial examination.  

Therapy can start as early as 5 years old.

 

Noxious Habits

Most commonly, a digit-sucking habit remains with the infant into early childhood and sometimes into adulthood. This is problematic as it can affect both jaw and facial development of the child.  

Noxious habits must be eliminated prior to starting therapy. We offer a separate program called “Unplugging the Thumb” that helps eradicate any digit-sucking habits in just 10 days.

For more information, please contact us at 604-271-6733

 

Article by Kristina Young, Myologist on staff at Aurora Dental Clinic.

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