About Orofacial Myology

Orofacial myofunctional disorders (OMD) are a group of disorders characterized by atypical movement patterns of the face and mouth during speech, swallowing, or at rest.  OMD can be the root cause of speech sounds being said incorrectly,  swallowing and feeding difficulty, jaw pain, etc. OMDs also may cause significant issues with teeth alignment and jaw function.

Orofacial myofunctional disorders are treated by specialized speech-language pathologists with advanced training in diagnosing and treating orofacial myofunctional disorders through client education, training, resources, and support.  All therapy is in collaboration with a client's professional and medical team, including ENTs, orthodontists, dentists, etc. 

OMD therapy utilizes neuromuscular re-education, stimulation, and exercises to recapture a normal dental freeway space, eliminate abnormal muscular pressure on the jaws and teeth, and stabilize the muscles of the mouth and face.

Orofacial myofunctional therapy will:

  • Prevent orthodontic relapse
  • Identify the cause and treat open mouth breathing
  • Provide relief from headaches, and face, jaw, and neck pain
  • Eliminate thumb or finger sucking
  • Eliminate teeth grinding and jaw tension
  • ​Solve picky eating, chewing and swallowing problems

What are the causes of an Orofacial Myofunctional Disorder?

There may be no single cause of OMD. When allergies, enlarged tonsils/adenoids, or other issues cause chronic mouth breathing, a person may develop abnormal mouth postures. Dental disorders including malocclusion, periodontal disorders, temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD), and dental relapse can also lead to OMD. Tongue ties and lip ties are also contributing factors. Often overlooked by other professionals, a certified Orofacial Myologist is qualified in diagnosing tongue- and lip-ties. After revision, speech therapy is effective in treating speech sound delays and remediating harmful sucking patterns.

Sleep disorders and sleep apnea, tongue thrust, chronic neck and back pain, headaches, GERD, tinnitus, vertigo, are also contributing factors related to OMD.

Chronic oral habits such as thumb sucking, pacifier use, or teeth clenching/grinding, and abnormalities like an overly large tongue or weak mouth muscles can also contribute to OMD. Some children and adults may have genetic tendencies toward these and other factors.

Orofacial myofunctional disorders affect children, teens, and adults.

Symptoms of an

Orofacial Myofunctional Disorder

  • Chronic open-mouthed posture

  • Tongue pushing against the teeth or protruding out of the mouth when swallowing

  • Chewing food with lips open

  • Tongue pushes between the teeth during speech

  • Speech distortions, especially lisp (e.g., sock is pronounced thock)

  • Front teeth that stick out

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When should therapy begin?

A certified Orofacial Myologist is qualified in the diagnosis and treatment of tongue-tie and lip tie.  This is often overlooked by many other professionals and often a big piece of the puzzle. ​Children as young as 3 years old can benefit from an evaluation to determine the underlying causes of obligate mouth breathing, the presence of a lip- or tongue-tie, delayed speech sound development, and/or harmful sucking habits. 

​Children, teens, and adults of all ages can benefit from orofacial myofunctional therapy programs to achieve lasting results.

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How does Orofacial Myofunctional therapy help?

  • Improve stubborn articulation disorders

  • Decrease severity and attempt to improve breathing disorders due to mouth breathing habits

  • Treat the symptoms contributing to TMD when it is a muscle or habit related issue

  • Improve digestive disorders from not chewing properly or swallowing air

  • Reduce the risk of re-attachment of the tongue or lip after surgery to release a tongue- or lip-tie via frenectomy

  • Improve forward head postural problems relating to atypical tongue and mouth postures

  • Assist with faster normalization of the facial muscles and neuromuscular facilitation post orthognathic surgery.

Midwest Myofunctional Specialists

11670 Fountains Drive, Suite 200

Maple Grove, MN 55369

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