Orofacial Myology

What is it?

Orofacial Myology (or Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy) is the study of oral and facial muscle function, posture and habits which may alter normal dental and facial development and appearance.   Orofacial myofunctional disorders (OMD) involve patterns and behaviours of the jaws, lips, cheek and tongue that aren't ideal but through an appropriate myofunctional therapy program, these habits can change.  Myofunctional therapy is available to people of all ages and is designed to correct orofacial muscle dysfunction using regular exercises and reminder techniques.

Orofacial myofunctional disorders include:

 

What causes an orofacial myofunctional disorder (OMD)?

An orofacial dysfunction can be the result of:    

    • Interruption to developing correct swallow patterns – eating soft foods, bottle feeding, thumb/finger or dummy sucking

    • Restricted airways - large adenoids/tonsils/turbinates, large tongue, allergies, oversized uvula, narrow or high palate

    • Tongue-tie, lip-ties or other physiological/structural abnormalities

    • Neurological or developmental abnormalities

What if OMDs go untreated?

 Untreated OMDs can possibly result in:

    • crooked teeth/small sized jaws - open bites, cross bites, over-jet, crowding

    • abnormal eruption of teeth and dental arch

    • abnormal tone of facial muscles

    • prolonged meal times due to ineffective chewing and swallowing

    • fussy/messy eating - find it hard to swallow correctly

    • belching, tummy pains -gulping air when eating

    • poor posture

    • altered speech patterns - lisps

    • asymmetrical lips and facial appearance and function

    • sleep disordered breathing due to night-time mouth breathing/low tongue posture - obstructive sleep apnoea

    • teeth grinding, clenching, TMJ disorders, craniofacial pain

    • relapse after orthodontic treatment

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