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What is Orofacial Myology?

Orofacial myology refers to the science and clinical knowledge dealing with muscles of the mouth and face (orofacial muscles) (ASHA.org). An orofacial myologist is a clinician that is specially trained to identify and successfully treat a variety of oral myofunctional disorders.

What is an Orofacial Myofunctional Disorder?

An orofacial Myofunctional Disorder is a negative habit pattern, posture and/or functional activity that can result in such conditions as open-mouth posture and/or tongue thrust (where the tongue lies against or between the front teeth at rest). Such disorders can disrupt normal dental development in children, specifically in the areas of dental eruption and alignment of the teeth and jaws (e.g. open bite, crossbite maloclussions). In addition, they can impact speech sound production, chewing and swallowing skills.

CAUSES OF MYOFUNCTIONAL DISORDERS

• Improper oral habits such as thumb or finger sucking, cheek
or nail biting, teeth clenching or grinding
• Restricted nasal airway (e.g. enlarged tonsils or adenoids, allergies)
• Structural or physiological abnormalities such as short lingual frenum (tongue-tie).
• Neurological and sensori-neural developmental delays or abnormalities.
• Hereditary predisposition to any of the above factors. (IAOM.com)

What is Myofunctional therapy?

Myofunctional therapy utilizes techniques to help eliminate harmful habit patterns, normalize resting tongue, lips and jaw positions, and/or retrain muscle patterns when there is tongue thrusting. Orthodontics may be needed to move teeth or improve jaw alignment. Orofacial myologists work with closely with dentists and orthodontists to assist with orthodontic success and retention.

At what age should therapy begin?

Children as young as four years old can benefit from an in-office evaluation. They can be seen for an assessment to determine if there are causative factors that require prevention or early intervention. Children seven or eight years of age are often good candidates to receive orofacial myofunctional therapy.

If you are concern about your child, please contact us for an evaluation.