Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy is used to remediate orofacial myofunctional disorders. It involves oral motor exercises to establish neuromuscular re-patterning of the tongue and facial muscles to achieve proper function for speech, chewing, swallowing and oral rest posture.
OMDs develop due to atypical, incorrect patterns of the tongue and facial muscles involved in speech, breathing and swallowing, such as:
- Tongue resting on or between teeth
- Tongue thrust
- Open mouth rest posture
- Thumb sucking
- Nail and cheek biting
- Speech sound errors (e.g. lisp)
- Misalignment of teeth (malocclusion)
- Orthodontic relapse
- Abnormal jaw growth
- Sleep disorders
- Airway obstruction (difficulty breathing due to enlarged tonsils/adenoids, allergies, deviated septum)
- Detrimental oral habits such as clenching and grinding of teeth, nail biting, thumb and finger sucking
- Physiological or structural abnormalities such as restricted tongue mobility due to tongue-tie (See Frequently Asked Questions about Tongue-Tie below.)
- Developmental delays
- Neurological deficits
- Develop typical lip and tongue rest postures to support adequate development of dental growth and alignment
- Establish nasal breathing
- Eliminate harmful oral habits
- Establish proper chewing and swallowing patterns
- Assist dental stabilization during and/or after orthodontic treatment
- Eliminate speech sound errors and distortions
- Improve facial symmetry
- Increase muscle tone
Frequently Asked Questions about Tongue-Tie
What is a Tongue-Tie?
- A Tongue-tie is a condition present at birth that restricts the tongue’s range of motion.
- With tongue-tie, an unusually short, thick or tight band of tissue (lingual frenulum) tethers the bottom of the tongue’s tip to the floor of the mouth.
- A person who has tongue-tie might have difficulty sticking out his or her tongue.
- Tongue-tie can also affect the way a child eats, speaks, and swallows, as well as interfere with breast-feeding.
What does a Tongue-Tie look like?
Problems that may occur due to Tongue-Tie.
- Signs and Symptoms During Breast Feeding:
- Baby has poor ability to latch on to breast
- Baby may be a slow drinker or falls asleep during feeding
- Failure to thrive (baby doesn’t get enough milk due to inability to latch properly)
- Baby may get stomach aches (colic)
- Breastfeeding may be painful for Mom (sore and bleeding nipples)
- Breastfeeding may be an unpleasant experience for Mom and Baby
- Picky Eater (child prefers soft foods because he/she may struggle to move food around in mouth for chewing and swallowing)
- Misaligned teeth or crowding of teeth due to improper development of oral structures
- Poor Articulation (speech sounds frequently impacted n, d, t, s, z, l, r, sh, ch)
- Reflux due to inappropriate swallow pattern
- Abnormal development of face and oral cavity (can lead to sleep disordered breathing (SDB) as a result of decreased anatomical support of the upper airway)
Who Diagnoses a Tongue-Tie?
- Speech-Language Pathologist
How is a Tongue-Tie Treated?
When a tongue-tie is identified, a multidisciplinary approach is necessary.
- A surgical procedure may be required to release the tethered tissue under the tongue. This procedure is usually conducted by a dentist, oral surgeon or ENT.
- Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy is a critical component in the remediation process. It involves oral motor exercises to establish neuromuscular re-patterning of the tongue and facial muscles to achieve proper function for speech, chewing, swallowing and oral rest posture.