What you need to know about Myofunctional Therapy

Royal Oak and Birmingham, MI

Have you heard of orofacial myofunctional therapy? It may be a mouthful to say, but a course of orofacial myofunctional therapy (also known as OMT) can treat a wide variety of issues affecting the mouth and face including obstructive sleep apnea, temporomandibular joint disorder, mouth breathing, tongue thrust, and more.

Here is what you need to know about myofunctional therapy:

What is orofacial myofunctional therapy?

It consists of a series of exercises that work the tongue, along with the muscles of the face and mouth. These simple, pain-free exercises re-train the orofacial system, allowing the muscles of the mouth and face to now perform at optimum levels. While the needs of each patient vary, a typical course of OMT lasts at least six months. 

One of the primary goals of myofunctional therapy is to achieve or restore the ideal oral resting posture—which consists of having teeth closed with lips together, while the tongue rests gently against the palate and shallow breathing occurs through the nose.

Who needs myofunctional therapy?

Anyone suffering from an orofacial myofunctional disorder (which also is referred to as an OMD for short) can benefit from a course of this therapy, which corrects this negative habit over time.

Behaviors that can be evidence of an OMD include a speech impediment such as a lisp, teeth clenching or grinding (also known as bruxism), loud snoring, a sleep breathing disorder, tethered oral tissue such as a tongue-tie, habits such as thumb sucking or tongue thrust, frequently biting the nails or inanimate objects, frequently breathing through the mouth, or a slouching head posture. In babies, an OMD can cause difficulties breastfeeding, which could manifest as anything from difficulty latching to failure to thrive.

If you or a member of your family has an orofacial myofunctional disorder, this problem will not just go away on its own. In fact, it will only get worse over time. The long-term consequences of an untreated OMD may include bite alignment issues, as well as gum disease, sleep apnea, the abnormal or substandard growth of the face and jaw, or relapse following orthodontic treatment. Having an OMD diagnosed and treated as early in life as possible makes it easier to treat the disorder. The recommendations of the International Association of Orofacial Myology indicate that children be evaluated for the potential causes of an OMD, such as an airway restriction, as early as the age of 4 years old.

Myofunctional therapy also can be used to treat chronic conditions such as sleep apnea or temporomandibular joint disorder.

Myofunctional Therapy in Royal Oak and Birmingham

The staff at Hartrick Dentistry has special training to identify an OMD, and we can provide myofunctional therapy in the Royal Oak area. To learn more about the benefits of myofunctional therapy or to schedule an evaluation to see if you or someone you love has an OMD, call our office at (248) 549-0950 to schedule a consultation.

Hartrick Dentistry is proud to provide comprehensive oral health care for patients in the areas of Royal Oak and Birmingham, Michigan.

Posted in Myofunctional Therapy

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Dr. Nancy Hartrick, DDS
32609 Woodward Ave.
Royal Oak, MI 48073
Call: 248-549-0950
Fax: 248-549-1180