Orofacial Myology

What is OMT

The study and treatment of oral and facial muscles as they relate to speech, dentition, chewing, bolus collection, swallowing and overall mental and physical health. (Sandra Holtzman, MS, CCC/SLP, COM)

What is Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy?

Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy (OMT) addresses problems related to disorders of the muscles and functions of the face and mouth, known as Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders (OMD’s).

OMD’s Include:

  • Oral habits
  • Tongue/Lip tie (ankyloglossia)
  • Tongue thrust-incorrect swallow
  • Mouth Breathing
  • Malocclusion( crooked or malposed teeth) /Orthodontic relapse
  • Mild to moderate sleep apnea
  • Snoring related to tongue posture
  • TMJ disorder that may be related to OMD

Many OMD’s begin from oral breathing habits like mouth breathing.  These habits cause muscles of the face to rest incorrectly and create improper tongue resting position.

This can lead to problems that may directly or indirectly affect:

  • Breast-feeding
  • Facial skeletal growth and development
  • Chewing
  • Swallowing
  • Speech
  • Occlusion
  • Poor teeth alignment
  • Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) movement
  • Oral hygiene/Periodontal disorders
  • Stability of orthodontic treatment/relapse
  • Facial aesthetics and more

Habits that develop in childhood may be seen in behaviors later in life.  By training muscles in the face to function correctly, the muscle memory can keep the teeth and jaw in proper alignment.

Treatment programs are individualized and focus on tongue and facial resting postures, swallowing and speech articulation.  Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy is painless and the exercises are relatively easy.

When certain muscles of the face are activated and functioning properly, other muscles will follow until proper coordination of the tongue and facial muscles are attained.

For success in therapy, consistent daily exercises are needed until consistent proper muscle patterns are attained.  This takes time and commitment by the patient and family.

Treatment usually consists of a 6-12 month program although treatment is individualized so length of time can vary.

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