Therapy For Oral Myofunctional Disorders
Oral myofunctional disorders (OMD’s) are the muscular disorders involving the mouth, lips, face or jaw. These disoders include abnormal tongue placement which results in improper speech. Also differences in the lingual and labial rest postures are observed. “Tongue thrust” is considered as a specific category of OMD. It refers to the abnormal function and placement of the tongue during swallowing.
There are certain indicators for identifying an oral myofunctional disorder. They should be investigated by a Certified Orofacial Myologist. The orofacial myologist evaluates the oral muscle function. Some of the indicators are mentioned below:
- Lips that are often chapped, cracked and sore from frequent licking
- Frequent mouth breathing in the abscence of nasal congestion or allergies
- Protrusion of tongue against or between the lower/upper front teeth when saying Z, S, D, T, L, N or Sh
- Excess tension in the chin muscle area (mentalis) when swallowing
What Is Oral Myofunctional Therapy?
Oral myofunctional therapy is the treatment which treats the following conditions:
- incorrect swallowing pattern
- orofacial muscle imbalance
- TMJ muscle dysfunction syndrome and/or
- eradicates clenching, bruxing or sucking habits
The therapy involves a general dentist or orthodentist, certified orofacial myologist and an ENT physician/Speech pathologist (optional). There are three main goals of oral myofunctional therapy:
- Clear and easy speech articulation
- Normal oral resting posture
- Appropriate oral stage swallowing
Correct Age To Begin Oral Myofunctional Therapy
The age of the patient is not so important to initiate the therapy. Rather than the age factor, maturity level and motivation to succeed are considered to be more important. Some children as young as four years may benefit from a therapy session. Children of seven or eight years are mature enough. They can sucessfully correct their problem. Adults of any age are capable to sucessfully complete the therapy.
The key is zeal to succeed and to change their facial/oral musle patterns sucessfully!