Orofacial Myofunctional Disorder

The prefix “myo” stands for muscle. Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders involve behaviors and patterns created by inappropriate muscle function and incorrect habits involiving the tongue, lips, jaw and face. Of the many possible myofunctional variations, those involving the tongue and lips receive the most attention. A tongue thrust is teh most common orofacial myofunctional variation. During the act of swallowing, (deglutition), and/or during rest posture, and incorrect positioning of the tongue may contribute to improper orofacial development and maintenance of the misalignment of the teeth.

Orofacial Myofunctional Disorder

What Causes An Orofacial Myofunctional Disorder

Often it is difficult to point to one particular sourse as the sole cause of an orofacial myofunctional disorder. In most cases it is the result of a combination of factors. These factors include but are not limited to:

1 Improper oral habits such as tumb or finger sucking, cheek/nail biting, tooth clenching/grinding.
2 Restricted nasal airway due to enlarged tonsils/ adenoids and/or allergies.
3 Structural or physiological abnormalitites such as a short lingual frenum (tongue-tie) or abnormally large tongue.
4 Neurological or developmental abnormalities. Hereditary predisposition to some of the above factors.

What IS Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy

Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy is the treatment of Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders (OMD). Orofacial myofunctional disorders involve a variety of postural and functional disorders including sucking habits and inappropriate oral postures or functions of the muscles of the tongue, lips, jaw and face. A common disorder familiar to the public is “tongue thrust”, where the tongue rests against or between the front or side teeth during swallowing rather than lifting up into the palate (roof of mouth). Tongue thrusting frequently occurs with a low, forward resting posture of the tonge, with a lips apart posture. Just as the controlled continuous forces of orthodontics appliances (braces) can move teeth, abnormal postures and functions in teh oral cavity can contribute to the development of dental malocclusions such as incorrectly positioned teeth, an improper bite relationship or other problems related to oral or facial muscle dysfunction or a malformation of bones of tech dental arches.