Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy

Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy At Clean Smiles Dental Hygiene Clinic

Oral Screening Services

What is Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy (OMT)?

Myofunctional therapy, also known as Orofacial Myology or Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy, is a non-invasive approach to treating dysfunctional oral habits. It involves static and active strength exercises to rehabilitate the tongue and orofacial muscles. 

When can it be treated?

It’s never too late to treat this dysfunctionality. People of all ages can develop positive and long-lasting habits after receiving the therapy. Improvements are seen in breathing, chewing, swallowing, digestion, facial aesthetics, sleep quality, mood, and other orofacial myofunctional disorders.

How Our Clinic Performs Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy?

Our focus is on research and evidence-based diagnosis, patient education, and building a treatment plan to achieve the optimal oral and overall health goals of the patient.

We provide customized programs to treat Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders. Our practice offers treatments and myofunctional therapy for the following conditions:

  • Thumb / Finger Sucking Habits
  • Tongue Thrust (tongue thrusting)
  • Nail Biting and Other Oral Habits
  • Incorrect Tongue Rest-Posture/Swallowing Pattern
  • Tongue-Tie Frenectomy preparatory and rehabilitation therapy
  • Lip Incompetence (Mouth breathing)
  • Snoring due to open mouth
  • Sleep apnea (therapy to decrease sleep apnea-hypopnea index)
  • Mouth breathing
  • Crowded teeth
  • Clenching and grinding
  • Anxiety
  • Headaches
  • Digestive issues
  • Speech articulation
Understanding your child’s teeth

At the clean smiles dental hygiene clinic Orofacial Myofunctional therapy is a airway centric and customized program.  It teaches exercises for tongue and facial muscles as well as techniques for behavioural modification that will help improve and treat chewing & swallowing disorders also known as orofacial myofunctional disorders.  These techniques will also promote proper rest posture of the tongue and improve breathing. To make the therapy successful, consistency is the key!!

Everyday exercise is needed until the desired muscle pattern is achieved. It requires commitment from the patient, family, and time. Treatment at our clinic usually starts with a detailed evaluation, followed by a customized treatment plan. It might take over 6-12 months with a regular program of exercise however it may vary from patient to patient.

Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy FAQ

Orofacial Myofunctional disorders are dysfunctions of muscles and disorders of the face and mouth that affect:

  • Swallowing
  • Chewing/eating
  • Facial skeletal growth and development
  • Speech
  • Dental arch development
  • Temporomandibular joint dysfunction
  • Oral hygiene
  • Stability of orthodontic treatment
  • Facial aesthetics

Orofacial Myofunctional disorder can occur due to chronic inadequate/obstructive nasal breathing or chronic mouth breathing. The constant adaptation of the facial muscles and function from such disordered breathing habits can lead to Orofacial Myofunctional disorders.

The goal of our myologist is to provide customized treatment for our patients while being aligned with our dentist and other health care practitioners to collectively achieve the best oral function and balance.

The process of swallowing is a function that depends on the working of our muscles in a balanced way. To swallow properly, teeth, tongue, cheeks, and throat must work together in a synchronized manner.

A tongue tie, medically known as ankyloglossia, is a condition present at birth that restricts the tongue’s range of motion. It occurs due to an unusually short, thick, or tight band of tissue (lingual frenulum) tethering the bottom of the tongue’s tip to the floor of the mouth. This can affect a person’s ability to speak, eat, and swallow. It is often noticed due to difficulties in breastfeeding in infants, or speech difficulties in older children. Treatment may involve a surgical procedure called a frenotomy, which is a simple snip of the frenulum to release the tongue.

Orofacial myofunctional disorders range in cause and effect, but are all treatable with intervention and repetition.  

  • When one swallows, the tip and/or edges of the tongue press against or spread between the teeth. This is normally called a tongue thrust (or tongue thrusting). Continuous pressure from a low resting tongue or incorrectly thrusting the tongue away from the roof of the mouth may misplace the teeth. The pressure created by it may prevent teeth from erupting in the correct position.
  • The constant pressure of the tongue beside or among the teeth will not allow the teeth to bite together. This is known as an open bite.
  • Thumb or finger sucking habits force the tongue into a lower site that eventually pushes it against the teeth, causing malposition.
  • The horizontal overlap of the upper teeth in front of the lower teeth is known as an overjet. This can significantly affect a person’s appearance and self-confidence.
  • Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders can lead to an irregular bite or Malocclusion. This problem occurs when the alignment of the upper and lower teeth is off, causing them not to fit together properly.
  • Malocclusion may appear as crooked, crowded, or protruding teeth. This problem may lead to issues in biting, chewing, swallowing, and digesting food. It may also affect a person’s appearance and speech.
  • Insufficient habitual nasal breathing refers to a condition where an individual does not breathe through their nose adequately or regularly. This can lead to mouth breathing, which may not be as effective or healthy. Breathing through the nose is important for filtering, humidifying, and warming the air before it enters the lungs. Habitual mouth breathing, on the other hand, can lead to dry mouth, increased risk of dental decay, and other respiratory issues. It often requires attention to correct its underlying causes and improve overall respiratory health.

How do I know if I have a Myofunctional Disorder?

The best way to determine if you or your child has one of the orofacial Myofunctional Disorders is to come in for an evaluation. We perform myofunctional evaluations at no cost as part of our dental exam during your visit.

Typically, the most noticeable symptom of incorrect oral posture involve muscles in the face. A dull, lethargic, weak lip appearance develops when the muscles are not functioning properly. Constantly parted lips are another indication of the disorder.

A person swallowing incorrectly will often squeeze and stiffen the muscles of the cheeks, chin, and lips – a sign known as a Facial grimace. This can give the chin a twisted appearance due to these overworked muscles.

Mouth breathing or constantly keeping lips open can indicate tongue thrust and low tongue relaxation posture.

Does Myofunctional Therapy help improve speech?

Individuals suffering from abnormal oral muscle patterns may have difficulty articulating sounds. Improper placement of muscles in the tongue and lips can hinder normal speech sounds.

An orofacial myologist can help stabilize orofacial muscles; however, Speech Therapists or speech-language pathologists may be required for correct sound expression.

Speech-language pathologists (SLP) are healthcare professionals who specializes in assessing, diagnosing, and treating communication disorders and swallowing difficulties. They work with individuals of all ages, from infants to the elderly, who may have trouble with speech, language, cognition, voice, resonance, fluency, or swallowing. SLPs develop personalized treatment plans and use various therapeutic techniques to improve their patients’ abilities to communicate effectively and eat safely. They often collaborate with other professionals, such as educators, physicians, and psychologists, to provide comprehensive care.

What other problems can Myofunctional Therapy help resolve?

Improper oral muscle function may lead to TMJ dysfunction, oral breathing issuesheadaches, stomach pain/bloating, airway obstruction, and sleep-disordered breathing.

Recent research indicates that orofacial myofunctional Therapy may alleviate symptoms of sleep-disordered breathing, such as snoring, and improve mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Proper functioning of tongue, throat, and face muscles may aid in resolving these disorders.

Myofunctional therapy at Clean Smiles Dental Hygiene Clinic

At Clean Smiles Dental Hygiene Clinic, our trained Myofunctional Therapists can perform screenings and suggest whether OMT is suitable for you or your child. Collaboration with various professionals, such as Dentists, Orthodontists, ENTs, Sleep GPs, GPs, Chiropractors, Osteopathists, and Speech Therapists, may be necessary to address and manage the patient’s needs effectively.

We believe that assessing and treating patients through a variety of methods is crucial for successful treatment. Everyone deserves education and treatment for Myofunctional Disorders. Myofunctional Therapy can improve eating, speaking, breathing, and sleeping patterns. Cosmetic enhancements can also restore confidence and self-esteem When you are thinking about Myofunctional therapy in Edmonton contact Clean Smiles. 

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