Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy

What is it?

Orofacial myofunctional therapy (OMT) is a specialised form of therapy that focuses on the assessment and treatment of the muscles and functions of the face, mouth, and throat. It aims to correct and improve the coordination, strength, and movement of these orofacial muscles to address various disorders and dysfunctions.

OMT uses specific exercises and reminder techniques to help your orofacial muscles feel, work and look better!

Goals of OMT

  • Nasal breathing
  • Resolving of oral habits
  • Lip seal
  • Tongue lightly suctioned to the palate at rest
  • Correct swallowing and chewing patterns
  • Upper airway support
  • Healthy lifelong habits - using the right muscles for the right job!

Common causes of orofacial myofunctional disorders (OMDs)

  • Airway problems - enlarged adenoids, tonsils and turbinates; allergies; narrow/high palate; underdeveloped jaws
  • Nutrition and lifestyle - increased stress; hurried lifestyle - altered mealtime practises; sedentary lifestyle; poor posture
  • Developmental influence - tongue or lip tie; cleft palate; low muscle tone
  • Feeding practices - bottle feeding; soft food diet; sippy cups
  • Habits - thumb/finger sucking; lip licking; lip trapping; dummy use
  • Injury - burns; trauma; stroke; facial paralysis

Untreated OMDs may lead to:

  • Crooked teeth/small sized jaws, open bites, cross bites, over jet, crowding
  • Abnormal eruption of teeth and altered jaw shape and sizes
  • Abnormal tone and movement of facial muscles
  • Prolonged meal times and preference for soft diet
  • Fussy or messy eating, belching
  • Tummy pains, poor digestion/gut health
  • Poor general posture
  • Altered speech sounds
  • Asymmetry facial appearance and movement
  • Poor sleep - obstructive sleep apnoea, snoring, upper airway resistance syndrome, mouth breathing
  • Teeth grinding, clenching, head and jaw pain
  • Behavioural changes - ADHD (poor sleep)
  • Oral habits - chewing shirt collars, nail biting etc