Orofacial Myology – Part 1

Part 1

What is Orofacial Myology?

Q: Has your dentist or orthodontist mentioned that you or your child has a tongue thrust?

You may need to consider seeking treatment by an individual trained to address this concern.

Q: Have you always thought that being tongue tied was just an expression used for a person who couldn’t get their words out?

It is possible for a person to truly be tongue tied. This occurs when the lingual frenulum (tissue that connects the floor of the mouth to the under side of the tongue) is connected to far forward or is too short/tight.

You may be asking: How does that answer the question? What is Orofacial Myology and how can it help myself or my family member? Let’s go over the basics.

Orofacial myology is the study of facial muscles and oropharyngeal complex, their associated movements and how those movements word together. These movements can affect the functions of:

1. Respiration

2. Chewing

3. Gathering and movement of food and liquid in the mouth

4. Speech production

5. Oral resting posture

When a change in patterning occurs, a resulting change in muscular function and/or structure may occur. Changes can be attributed, but are not limited to genetics, birth trauma and anomalies, lack of patent airway, surgical intervention affecting the head and neck, inappropriate development of the swallow, or noxious habit patterns. (1)

In addition to the above mentioned concerns, orofacial myologists also evaluate and treat

1. Jaw Stability/Dissociation

2. Lip Seal/Competence

3. Tongue Tie (Ankyloglossia)

4. Drooling/Saliva Control


Q: I thought TheraCare Outpatient Services offered speech therapy. How does speech therapy fit into this?

Any speech language pathologist (SLP) can gain additional training to become skilled in orofacial myology. Our lead SLP, Melanie Stinnett, MS, CCC-SLP,  has completed this extensive training and is currently providing therapy to clients in the Greater Springfield Area. If you have questions about this type of therapy you can contact us through our Contact Form on the website or call our office at 417-890-4656.

Make sure to stay tuned for more discussions in Part 2: Causes of Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders, Part 3: Tongue Tie, Part 4: Bad Habits, and Part 5: Orofacial Myology and Orthodontics.


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1. Mary Billings, MS, CCC-SLP, COM (2013) – President Elect – IAOM

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