Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders (OMDs) are disorders of the muscles and functions of the face and mouth. OMDs may affect, directly and/or indirectly, breastfeeding, facial skeletal growth, and development, chewing, swallowing, speech, occlusion, temporomandibular joint movement, oral hygiene, the stability of orthodontic treatment, facial esthetics, and more.
Most OMDs originate with insufficient habitual nasal breathing or with oral breathing. The subsequent adaptation of the muscles and the orofacial functions to a disordered breathing pattern creates many OMDs. Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders may impact treatments by orthodontists, dentists, dental hygienists, speech-language pathologists, and other professionals working in the orofacial area.
Because a person swallows 500-1000 times a day, improper swallowing can cause a variety of problems. But it is actually the resting position of the tongue that does the most damage because it is more constant.
Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy (OMT) eliminates many of the causes of swallowing abnormalities and improper rest posture of the tongue.
Orofacial myofunctional therapy is painless and the exercises are relatively simple. When certain muscles of the face are activated and functioning properly, other muscles will follow suit until proper coordination of the tongue and facial muscles are attained. For success in this therapy, consistent exercise every day is necessary until the patient has corrected their improper muscle pattern. It also takes commitment by the patient, family – and time. Treatment usually consists of a regular program of exercises over a 6 – 12 month period, although treatment length may vary.