NWI Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy, LLC
Notice the changes that occurred after this patient switched to nasal breathing and correct swallowing.
2 weeks before and 2 weeks after laser
tongue tie release, with pre and post op myofunctional therapy
What is Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy (OMT)?
Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy, also called Orofacial Myology, is the study and treatment of disorders of the oral and facial muscles, consisting of behavioral modification and simple, therapeutic exercises for muscles of the tongue, lips, and jaw. This also includes a habit elimination program for thumb/finger sucking.
What are Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders?
Most people don't give their tongues much thought, but the tongue is actually the basis for proper growth and development of the facial bones and airway. In normal function, the tongue rests against the palate, or roof of the mouth, the lips are closed, and breathing takes place through the nose. Under these circumstances, the tongue becomes a natural palatal expander, as pressure from the tongue will stimulate forward growth of the maxilla, or upper jaw bone.
Having lips closed and breathing through the nose will also encourage horizontal growth of the mandible, which is the lower jaw bone. When the jaw bones grow horizontal, verses the vertical growth of mouth breathers, it helps to create a wider airway for adequate breathing. This is crucial for total body health, including the prevention of sleep disordered breathing and sleep apnea.
Correct oral rest posture will also reduce the likelihood of malocclusion or crooked teeth, as the teeth will have more room to erupt. Plus, who wouldn't love a more defined jaw line!
For those of us with myofunctional disorders that went unnoticed in childhood, we might not correlate some of our symptoms with problems of tongue function. For example, someone who had braces and their teeth shifted again, will probably not know that the cause of the movement could be that their tongue is resting against the teeth. The constant light pressure of the tongue is just like braces and is enough to move teeth. Improper tongue function can also be related to chronic pain and posture problems.
What are some symptoms and effects of Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders?
Narrow palate/small jaws
Tongue excessively visible while speaking/eating/smiling
Sleep Disordered Breathing
Headaches/Head and neck pain
What causes Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders?
There is no one cause of myofunctional disorders, but one of the main contributing factors is mouth breathing or open mouth posturing. When the airway is constricted due to enlarged tonsils or adenoids, the tongue has to move forward to clear the airway space for better breathing. When this happens, the tongue drops to the floor of the mouth and the jaws can start to narrow. Other factors can include thumb/finger sucking, ankyloglossia (tongue tie), and extended use of pacifers, bottles, or sippy cups.
How do I know if my child or I have a myofunctional disorder?
Have you noticed any of the symptoms listed above?
Where does your tongue rest? Is the entire tongue suctioned to the palate or does part of it rest against, between, or below the teeth?
Does your tongue push forward or down when you swallow?
Do your lips tighten or your facial muscles tense up when swallowing?
Do you breathe through your mouth or snore at night?
Did you have a palatal expander, premolar extraction, or tonsil and adenoid surgery?
Contact me today for a free 20 minute online consultation!
Practice limited to Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy