Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy
serving Colorado Springs, CO

What is Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy?

The title is a mouthful! And rightly so. "Oro" refers to the mouth, and as you probably guessed, "facial" refers to the face. "Myo" refers to muscles. So to put it all together, Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy (OMT) is therapy related to the function of the muscles of the mouth and face!

There are more than 40 muscles in your face, and 8 muscles in your tongue. These muscles work together for very important jobs, including speaking, chewing, swallowing, and keeping your airway open so you can breathe. The shape and growth of your face, jaw, and hard palate (the roof of your mouth) are affected by the function of these muscles.

Habits, such as thumb or finger sucking, nail biting, and open mouth breathing affect the proper function of the orofacial muscles, and often cause changes in the alignment of teeth, shape of the hard palate, and can even lead to pain in the face or jaw. Other causes of Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders (OMD's) are enlarged tonsils/adenoids that obstruct the airway, tongue thrust swallowing pattern, tongue tie, or low resting posture of the tongue.

What Does Therapy for OMD's Consist of?

Therapy for OMD's consists of re-educating the muscles for performing their proper functions. Exercises for the tongue, lips, and facial muscles are performed multiple times a day to strengthen musculature, increase tone, promote proper tongue posture and positioning, as well as improve breathing function and chewing and swallowing.

Behavioral modification strategies help target harmful habits such as thumb or finger sucking, cheek biting or nail biting. Therapists qualified to treat OMDs have specialized training in Orofacial Myology and may have a background in speech-language pathology or dental hygiene. OM therapists often collaborate with other professionals, including dentists, orthodontists, ear/nose/throat specialists (ENTs), chiropractors, massage therapists, lactation specialists and general practitioners in order to provide patients with the care they need.

Who might need Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy?

Children and adults with OMD's may have some of the following associated symptoms:

  • Speech sound errors or distortions

  • Drooling

  • Misalignment of teeth

  • High vaulted-shape of the hard palate

  • Trouble breathing through the nose

  • Open mouth breathing (day or night)

  • Snoring or other sleep disorders

  • Allergies

  • Digestive problems such as reflux or stomach pain (may be caused by poor chewing and swallowing patterns)

  • TMJ (temporomadibular joint) Dysfunction or jaw popping, clicking, or pain

  • Headaches

  • Facial pain

  • Clenching or grinding of teeth (day or night)

  • Imbalanced facial features, asymmetry of facial features

  • Forward posture of head/neck

  • Habits, including sucking of fingers, thumb, tongue, or cheek, prolonged use of pacifier, chewing

  • on clothing, excessive lip biting or licking, cheek biting, nail biting, chewing pens/pencils

  • Tongue thrust while swallowing

  • Other chewing/swallowing problems

If you or your child have signs or symptoms of an Orofacial Myofunctional Disorder, call Sprout Therapy Services to schedule an evaluation today.

Tongue Thrusting