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Internatinal Association of Orofacial Myology

Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy

What is Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy?

Orofacial Myofunctional therapy is designed to retrain patterns of muscle function and to aid in the creation and maintenance of a healthy, stable orofacial environment. Therapy may help in the stabilization of the dental and/or orthodontic treatment, improve the clarity of speech, enhance one’s appearance, and help to maintain optimum oral health for a lifetime of benefits. Orofacial myologists, also known as Speech Pathologists with advance training or certification in orofacial myology, use specialized exercises to establish correct functional activities of the tongue, lips, and jaws. These exercises can eliminate or greatly reduce drooling, lip biting, food chewing problems, open lip resting posture, articulation disorders, and incorrect swallowing patterns.We work closely with ENTs, Orthodontists, Dentists, and other sleep and airway professionals.

Who benefits from Myofunctional Therapy?

Orofacial myofunctional disorders cause improper rest posture of the tongue and swallowing abnormalities. When certain muscles of the face are activated and functioning properly, other muscles will follow suit until proper coordination of the tongue and facial muscles is attained.

Symptoms:

  • Thumb and finger sucking habits

  • A habit of open mouth at rest

  • A tongue that rests towards the front of the mouth either between or against the teeth

  • Tongue Thrust

  • Drooling

  • Teeth Grinding

  • Speech Sound errors

 

Early identification and treatment is recommended for some patients for the following reasons:

  • By correcting abnormal muscle function early, normal dental growth is encouraged.

  • The abnormal habits are usually not as ingrained as they may be later on.

The age of the patient is not as important as their motivation to succeed.

  • Children as young as 4 years old can be seen for an evaluative session.

  • Children of seven or eight years of age are often candidates to receive myofunctional therapy. 

  • Teenagers and adults of all ages are capable of success in treatment.

Therapy can prove beneficial in adolescents and adults:

  • Proper muscle function may assist the orthodontist in bringing teeth into a more desirable relationship.

  • Proper muscle function contributes to the stability of occlusion.

What happens in Myofunctional Therapy?

Treatment is simple and painless. The goal focuses on remediating tongue thrusts and strengthening the muscles of the tongue, lips, and jaw but also focuses on correct swallowing and breathing.

 

Addresses harmful oral habits including:

  • Prolonged pacifier use

  • Thumb and/or finger sucking

  • Fingernail, cheek, or lip biting

  • Tongue sucking

  • Clenching or grinding of the teeth

Benefits may include:

  • Correcting and improving tongue and lip postures which can aid in the development of normal patterns of dental eruption and alignment.

  • Assisting in the stabilization of the teeth during and/or after orthodontic treatment or jaw surgery

  • Supporting the remediation of speech errors differently than some traditional methods.