Fitness & Workouts Health & Medical

What Is Myofunctional Therapy And Orofacial Myofunctional Disorder

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Do you or your child suffer from the following?

  • Short upper lip
  • Sleep apnea
  • Thumb/Finger Sucking
  • Cross Bite
  • Nail Biting
  • Jaw Pain
  • Tongue Thrust

If yes, they most likely have an Orofacial Myofunctional Disorder.

What Is An Orofacial Myofunctional Disorder?

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Disorders of facial muscles and functions are referred to as Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders (OMDs) which may affect facial skeletal growth, breastfeeding, swallowing, chewing, occlusion, speech, joint movement, oral hygiene, facial esthetics and stability of orthodontic treatment and more.

The majority of OMDs are caused by inadequate nasal breathing and/or oral breathing. Improper breathing forces facial muscles to adapt accordingly which leads to the development of OMDs.

Causes of OMD

There are various causes for OMD including:

Upper Airway Obstruction

Our airway is made up of a few tubes that transfer inhaled air from our nose and mouth to our lungs. The narrowing or blockage of the airway leads to the obstruction and insufficient breathing.

Chronic Finger or Thumb Sucking

Sucking reflexes come naturally to babies and young children. During infancy, thumb-sucking is a source of comfort for the child. However, if isn’t stopped soon enough, it causes their jaws to grow improperly and eventually leads to the development of an OMD.

Extended Pacifier or Bottle Use

Using a pacifier and bottle excessively has the same effect on the upper jaw as thumb/finger sucking. If parents rely heavily on a pacifiers and baby bottles, their child will most likely develop an OMD over time.

Orofacial Muscular And Structural Differences

Some people are just born with abnormal muscular and skeletal structures that lead to an OMD as they age.

Genetics

Children with a family history of OMDs and front upper teeth that stick out are likely to have OMD themselves.

Swallowing Correctly

No one pays attention to how they swallow when they can do it correctly. However, it becomes a big problem for those that have difficulty doing so.

As simple as swallowing seems, it’s a complex function that is created by the mouth, throat, tongue and face working in cohesion. In order to swallow correctly, our muscles, along with the nerves in our cheeks, tongue and throat need to work together.

We don’t notice it, but we swallow between 500-1000 times a day!  People that have trouble with swallowing properly face an array of dental, speech and breathing problems.

How Does Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy (OMT) Help?

Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy (OMT) takes on OMDs by eliminating their root causes. It aims to get rid of the swallowing abnormalities and fix the posture of the tongue when it’s at rest.

OMT consists of simple, pain-free exercises. When particular facial muscles are activated, the other muscles take cue from them until all facial and tongue muscles are working in harmony.

For the therapy to be successful, the patient will need to do these exercises every day until all muscles are coordinating and the improper muscle pattern is abolished.

Treatment lengths vary from patient to patient but generally they last 6–12 months.

If you or a loved is suffering from an OMD get in touch with an Orofacial Myofunctional Therapist near you for treatment.

Connected Dots OMT provides reliable online Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy at affordable prices. Patients can choose from four programs that suit their needs and comfortably fit their budget. They even offer comprehensive myofunctional exams before recommending treatments.

Get in touch with them for more information.

About the author

Nancy

Nancy

I’m Nancy and no, I didn’t always look like I do in that picture on the right. My foray into health and fitness began as a brace-faced, 16 year-old who was too afraid to wear a two-piece at the beach because I felt my body paled in comparison to my much more toned friends.

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