Orofacial Myology

Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders (OMD) include concerns related to abnormal resting postures and function of the oral and facial muscles. An atypical swallowing pattern, often referred to as “tongue thrust”, can be a result of these issues. Although this sounds like a simple tongue problem, areas of difficulty with coordination and patterning include mastication (chewing), bolus formation/collection, and transport of the bolus posteriorly. During this atypical swallowing pattern, the tongue will push forward against or between the teeth. When the tongue positions itself this way, it may have an adverse affect on the position of the dentition, craniofacial development, the orofacial soft tissue complex, and coordination patterns of all the associated musculature.

Contributing factors to OMDs may include upper airway obstruction (enlarged adenoids/tonsils, allergies, sinus obstruction), non-nutritive sucking habits (thumb/finger sucking, extended use of a sippy cup or pacifier, bruxing and clenching of the dentition and facial muscles, nail biting), tongue-tie, and abnormal shape or growth of the palate/roof of the mouth.

Tongue-tie is a condition where the lingual frenum is too restrictive, not allowing full range of motion and function. This restriction can cause dental, speech and skeletal changes (jaw and palate formation).

Due to the specialized nature of treatment for OMDs, we work closely with a variety of healthcare professionals. This may include: pediatricians, otolaryngologists, dentists, orthodontists, oral and maxillofacial surgeons, physical therapists, chiropractors, and allergists.

 

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