About orofacial myology

What is Orofacial Myology?
Orofacial myology is postural training of the tongue and facial muscles that includes therapy for orofacial myofunctional disorders (OMD’s) and parafunctional or harmful habits. The prefix ‘myo’ means muscle.

Orofacial myologists are a group of professionals that provide information, education, resources, treatment and support for families or patients seeking help regarding orofacial myofunctional disorders.  .

What is a myofunctional disorder?
Any habit or condition that interferes with proper development and action of the the orofacial muscles. This includes muscles of the tongue, lips, cheeks and jaw. Incorrect habits can lead to improper development of the teeth, speech, chewing, swallowing, poor table manners, and poor resting tongue posture patterns. The most common orofacial myofunctional disorder is a tongue thrust or an incorrect resting posture or swallowing pattern.

Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders may include:

  • Incorrect tongue posture at rest
  • Incorrect swallowing pattern- (tongue thrust/lisping)
  • Sucking or biting habits, cheeks or lips
  • Thumb/finger sucking
  • Nail biting
  • Open lips and mouth posture
  • Teeth grinding/clenching
  • Prolong pacifier or sippy cup use
  • Tongue or lip tie

What are the indications for myofunctional therapy?
The primary goal is to recapture a normal freeway space (the space between the upper and lower teeth).
Tongue thrust (incorrect tongue resting posture), thumb/finger sucking, pacifier habit, open mouth rest posture, mouth breathing, drooling, poor table manners, lack of muscle tone in face and lips, helping to resolve harmful habits to promote proper growth and development and restore proper tongue and lip resting postures.

How long does therapy take?

Therapy may consist of several phases. Thumb/finger sucking and nail biting usually take 4 appointments. Other therapy may take months to correct each individual’s needs.

What does therapy consist of?
Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy (OMT) is provided by a trained/Certified Orofacial Myologist. Sessions will consist of photos, measurements, and exercises. Instructions are given for exercises to be done at home and performed two or three times per day.

How does the patient’ and parent’s participation affect treatment outcomes?

The patient and parent/guardian must understand that progress and results can be delayed if there is a lack of commitment and daily participation. Open airway must be established for proper results, this may include referral to other specialists prior to treatment.

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