What is Orofacial Myology?
- The study, evaluation, and therapy of Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders (OMDs)
What are Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders (OMDs)?
- The prefix "myo" means muscle. The muscles involved include those in the mouth (oro) and on the face (facial).
- When normal patterns are disrupted, atypical and adaptive movement patterns emerge. OMDs include the abnormal rest postures and functioning of the oral and facial muscles and soft tissue complex.
- OMDs include any habit or condition that interferes with proper development and action of the the orofacial muscles, including the tongue, lips, cheeks and jaw.
- Incorrect habits can lead to improper development of the teeth position, speech, chewing, & oral swallowing.
OMD Examples may be one or a combination of these:
OMDs are related to medical and dental disorders including:
- Tongue thrust (link to pop out-->[A tongue thrust is an atypical oral swallowing pattern involves the coordination and patterning related to mastication (chewing), food bolus formation/collection, and movement/transport of the bolus posteriorly to the throat (pharynx). During this atypical swallow, the tongue will stabilize itself anteriorly or "between the teeth" during the transport phase. When the tongue positions itself forward or sideways against and/or between the teeth during the process, it can have an adverse affect on the position of the dentition, craniofacial development, the orofacial soft tissue complex and coordinated patterns of all the associated musculature. It is estimated this disorder is prevalent in 30% of the population.]
- Improper oral habits--Thumb/finger sucking habits, nail biting, etc
- Open resting lip/mouth posture
- Incorrect resting tongue posture (against/ between teeth or in the floor of the mouth)
- Teeth grinding/clenching (bruxism)
- Prolonged pacifier or sippy cup use
- Tongue tie (ankyloglossia)
- Upper lip (labial) tie
- Other harmful oral habits
- Malocclusion (improper alignment of teeth)
- Orthodontic relapse
- Craniofacial changes: jaw, palate, facial profile, facial shape
- Periodontal disorders
Causes of OMDs are due to a combination of factors, including:
- Lack of nasal breathing--pop out-->Impeded nasal breathing results in mouth breathing. Long term mouth breathing changes the natural resting position of the jaw, lips, and tongue. These position changes influence growth patterns of maxilla & mandible and result in development of significant malocclusion. Long term mouth breathing impairs the ability of nasal breathing to cleanse & purify air for the pulmonary system/lungs.
- Enlarged tonsils/adenoids, deviated septum, &/or allergies resulting in restricted nasal airway
- Improper oral habits
- Structural &/or physiological abnormalities, such as a tongue tie (ankyloglossia)
- Extended use of pacifiers &/or sippy cups
- Neurological deficits and/or developmental disorders
Who can help improve OMDs?
- A Certified Orofacial Myologist (COM)/ Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP)
- Barbara A. Taylor, MS, CCC-SLP, COM is a Certified Orofacial Myologist
- A COM has completed:
- a 28 hour Introductory Course in Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders
- Passed the rigorous certification process including a written & an onsite clinical examination
- Continue accreditation through the IAOM by participating in current continuing education courses
What’s next? An Evaluation:
- An individualized evaluation is scheduled with our Certified Orofacial Myologist (COM)
- The function of the jaw, lips, cheeks, & tongue is assessed via specific tools.
- An oral swallowing evaluation is conducted w/a variety of food textures.
- Photographs are taken of the face, jaw, lips, cheeks, tongue, and fingers.
- A speech evaluation may occur also if sound errors/ patterns are noted.
- What happens during Therapy for OMDs?
- At Help Me Speak, we help our clients to eliminate orofacial myofunctional disorders (OMDs). If untreated, these OMDs can lead to improper alignment of the teeth, chewing, oral swallowing, speech, poor table manners, and poor resting tongue &/or lip patterns.
- During Orofacial Myofunctional therapy, our Certified Orofacial Myologist (COM) directs our SLPs in how to teach the tongue and orofacial muscles WHERE to rest and HOW to move during oral swallowing/eating.
- If a tongue tie is present AND functionally impacts the orofacial complex, a frenectomy may be recommended by a DDS or oral surgeon who specializes in release of ankyloglossia. Many specialists agree that a restricted lingual frenum can result in dental, speech, and skeletal changes (jaw and palate formation).
- 4 year old children can benefit from an evaluation to determine what causative factors (impaired nasal breathing &/or ankyloglossia) may occur. Referrals are made to appropriate medical professionals. A Mini-Myofunctional Therapy Program may be appropriate for prevention &/or intervention of OMDs.
- 4-5 year olds may be ready for a Habit Elimination Program.
- Children from 6-8 years & older are good candidates for an Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy Program.
- Teens to Adults can benefit from an Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy Program w/excellent long-term results.
Coordination w/Related Medical Professionals:
- Pediatricians, Otolaryngologists (ENTs), Allergists, Dental specialists, Maxillofacial surgeons, Orthodontists, Lactation consultants (IBCLCs), Physical therapists, and/or Chiropr