Orofacial Myofunctional Disorder

omdRoyal Oak and Birmingham, MI

Do you have an orofacial myofunctional disorder?

This term applies to any issue stemming from a dysfunction in the muscles of your face or mouth, or the movement of your tongue.

An orofacial myofunctional disorder (OMD) can hinder your ability to eat, swallow, and speak correctly. It can affect your breathing or the way you sleep. It even can alter facial development, especially for growing children. While it may not seem too serious, it actually is because it can lead to lasting health issues affecting breathing, development, speech, and more. Learn how Birmingham area dentist, Dr. Nancy Hartrick can diagnose OMDs and provide treatment to ensure your child’s development is not interrupted.

What causes an OMD?

Any of the following conditions can lead to the development of an OMD.

If you notice any of these symptoms in yourself or your child, it is time to schedule a consultation with Dr. Hartrick:

  • Poor breathing habits—either from inefficient nasal breathing or regularly breathing through the mouth
  • Extended use of a pacifier and/or sippy cup
  • Thumb sucking
  • Restriction of the nasal airway due to enlarged tonsils or adenoids, a deviated septum, or allergies
  • Tethered oral tissue such as a tongue tie or lip tie

Patients with an OMD see their orofacial functions and muscles adapt to compensate for this disorder.

If an OMD is not properly treated, it can cause other, more serious problems including malocclusion (bad bite), gum disease, sleep apnea, orthodontic relapse, and abnormal growth of the jaw. These are conditions that linger into adulthood, but that can be rectified with proper treatment from the dentist.

Common symptoms of an OMD include the following:

  • A speech impediment or delayed development of speech
  • In infants, issues breastfeeding
  • Tongue thrust
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Breathing frequently through the mouth or having an open mouth continuously when at rest (poor oral posture)

The sooner an OMD is diagnosed and treated, the less likely it will have a prolonged effect on the way you eat, swallow, and speak. The International Association of Orofacial Myology recommends that children be evaluated for the potential causes of an OMD, such as an airway restriction, as young as the age of 4 years old. This is why routine dental checkups are so crucial for patients of all ages. Your dentist in Royal Oak, Dr. Nancy Hartrick can identify these type of issues in children, especially if they are visiting the dentist regularly. Early diagnosis and treatment are key to preventing costly and lengthy dental treatments later in life.

Hartrick Dentistry has the special training and experience to diagnose and treat an OMD in a patient at any age. If you aren’t sure whether you or your child could have an OMD, we encourage you to call our office at (248) 549-0950 to schedule a consultation today. We can work collaboratively with a certified myofunctional therapist to help provide non-invasive care for the treatment of OMDs.

Hartrick Dentistry is proud to serve the oral health needs of patients in the areas of Royal Oak and Birmingham, Michigan.