Oral Myofunctional Therapy
What is an
Oral Facial Myofunctional Disorder?
Oral facial myofunctional disorders (OMD) describe abnormal function of the oral and facial muscles. OMD also usually involves a combination of a tongue thrust swallow and abnormal lip and tongue resting positions. The basic problem is excessive pressure. Just as the orthodontist can move teeth by applying controlled force with wires and bands, the abnormal pressures of OMD can adversely influence the formation of the bony oral structures and/or position of teeth.
The excessive pressure caused by OMD may contribute to the development of speech problems and may make dental malocclusion worse.
Significant factors in development of OMD include:
- prolonged thumb sucking
- prolonged finger sucking
- pacifier sucking
- chronic upper respiratory disorders
- enlarged tonsils
- short lingual frenulum
- a large tongue
Research has shown a high incidence of /s/ distortion or “lisping” in individuals with a tongue thrust. The tongue comes too far forward in –between the upper and lower front teeth resulting in a /th/ sound-for instance “thithter” rather than “sister”. There are a number of other sounds that can also be distorted as a result of OMD. They are /sh/, /ch/, /J/, /z/, /t/, /d/, /L/, /n/, and /r/.
When there is a combination of OMD and related articulation errors, it is often difficult to correct the speech distortions through traditional speech therapy alone. This is because the sounds that are most often affected by OMD require retraction and elevation of the tongue for correct production, whereas, OMD is characterized by a forward and low tongue function.
What is Oral Facial Myofunctional Therapy?
Therapy involves an individualized regimen of therapeutic oral and facial muscle exercise to develop a correct swallowing pattern and appropriate tongue and lip resting postures.
Parental Role in OMD Therapy
Your child cannot carry out his/her therapy program alone. For a child to change a pattern as basic as swallowing, there must be a willingness to direct a lot of thought and practice toward that goal. Parental supervision and participation are necessary to achieve this objective. When parents are informed, interested, and supportive they can make an enormous difference toward helping their child maintain a positive attitude and the dedication necessary to achieve a correction of OMD. This will facilitate orthodontic treatment and stability and ensure a lifetime of dental health.
County Speech’s Approach to
Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy
County Speech offers a unique and effective approach to remediate orofacial myofunctional disorders. The core of our program is to develop the client’s intrinsic motivation to achieve success.
At County Speech we:
- boost self-esteem
- foster a positive therapy environment
- implement a “Team Approach” to eliminate orofacial myofunctional habits
Please contact our office for information regarding
myofunctional therapy at (619) 574-8181.