What is Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy?
The muscles of the mouth and face are unique and incredibly important. The orofacial complex plays a role in life-sustaining tasks such as eating, drinking and breathing. These muscles also play an essential role in our growth and development. When the muscles of the orofacial complex develop incorrect patterns over a period of time, it can lead to a variety of Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders (OMDs) including:
- Mouth breathing
- Incorrect chewing and swallowing pattern
- Tongue thrusting
- Low tongue posture
Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders (OMDs) may directly or indirectly lead to:
- Crooked teeth or an open bite
- Negative changes in jaw and facial growth
- Poor oral health
- Decreased size of nasal passages and sinus space
- Poor speech
- Relapsed orthodontic treatment
- Poor nutrition
- Noisy and messy eating habits
- TMJ disorder and pain in the jaw
- Increased risk of asthma and allergies
When the orofacial muscles are not functioning properly, Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy can correct the problem by using exercises to retrain the lip, tongue and facial muscles, teaching them to rest in the proper position and to function correctly with balance.
Thumb Sucking and Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy
Thumb sucking creates a release of endorphins. For this reason, the habit can be very hard to eliminate. With the use of exercises and positive reinforcement, Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy can help to successfully eliminate thumb sucking. Training the tongue and lips where to rest creates a sense of muscular balance of the orofacial complex. When the muscles rest correctly, the body no longer craves thumb sucking. Our habit elimination program has many “helps” in place that makes it easier for children to quit sucking their thumb and/or fingers.
How do I know if my child would benefit from Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy?
If any of these issues concern you, your child may benefit from Myofunctional Therapy:
- Can you see your child’s tongue push forward while swallowing? Is your child a messy eater?
- Do you see your child’s tongue stick out between the front teeth at rest?
- Are your child’s lips apart while watching T.V. or reading a book?
- Does your child’s tongue seem ‘tied’ to the floor of the mouth?
- Does your child snore at night? Sound congested?
- Does your child have a forward head posture with rounded shoulders (slouches)?
- Is your child always putting things in their mouth such as fingers, pens, clothing etc.?
- Does your child have difficulty pronouncing specific sounds despite having speech therapy for years?
If you feel that you or your child may benefit from Myofunctional Therapy, please contact our office for a complimentary consult.