This includes (but is not limited to) everything from mouth breathing, tongue-tie, lip-tie, tongue thrust, thumb sucking, TMJ pain and feeding difficulties.
If you have a question about whether we can treat something, call us at (970) 274-7163 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d be happy to chat with you about it!
If you have an issue with something related the mouth, we probably treat it!
Orofacial myofunctional therapy is a program used to correct the improper function of the tongue and facial muscles. It involves strengthening of the tongue and orofacial muscles by teaching individuals how to engage the muscles in the appropriate position.
Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy (OMT) focuses on muscles of the face and mouth and teaches clients how to breathe, posture, swallow, and speak correctly. Its main focus is creating a healthy balance between orofacial structure and function. When these functions are impaired, an Orofacial Myofunctional Disorder (OMD) exists.
The goal of OMT is to help ensure proper oral rest posture which means you have your tongue resting on the roof of your mouth with teeth slightly open and lips sealed while utilizing nasal breathing. We should be using proper oral rest posture at all times unless eating, drinking or talking.
Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders (OMDs) are disorders of the muscles and functions of the face and mouth. OMDs may affect, directly and/or indirectly, sleep apnea, facial skeletal growth and development, breathing, chewing, swallowing, speech, occlusion, head and neck pain, temporomandibular joint movement, oral hygiene, stability of orthodontic treatment, facial esthetics, restricted facial and lingual frenum, forward head posture, incorrect oral habits and more.
OMDs affect all ages and can have a different impact on an individual’s quality of life based on the severity of the disorder and time left untreated. A few examples of untreated OMDs include:
Poor sleep Snoring
Headaches TMJ pain or jaw locking/popping
Prolonged Oral habits (Thumb sucking, pacifier, etc) Feeding difficulties
Poor speech Mouth always open
Drooling Chapped lips
Crooked teeth Long facial growth
Recessed chin Heart-shaped tongue
Enlarged tonsils Difficulty nasal breathing
Dark circles under eyes Difficulty swallowing
Teeth grinding Bedwetting
Frequent Ear Infections Digestive Issues
Daytime Drowsiness ADD/ADHD
Teeth Clenching Relapse of Orthodontic Treatment
Neck, face, shoulder pain Headaches/migraines
Please complete all patient intake information online prior to arriving for the evaluation through the portal link emailed to you. Evaluations typically last 1-1.5 hours and will provide an in-depth functional assessment of breathing, oral rest posture, chewing and swallowing patterns, and speech. This evaluation typically includes a review of health history and symptoms, photo documentation, measurements, orofacial movement tasks, and observations. Our therapists will take the information from health history/symptoms and help connect the dots with the results of the evaluation. Referrals and recommendations will then be made as appropriate.
HOW DOES POOR ORAL REST POSTURE IMPACT SPEECH ARTICULATION? Where our tongue, jaw and lips sit at rest is where we begin talking from. If your rest posture is abnormal (for example with the tongue resting low and forward in the mouth against the lower front teeth versus in correct position resting on the roof of the mouth) the tongue has further it has to move in order to produce clear and articulate speech. This can result in "mumbled speech" or parents saying their child sounds like they have "marbles in their mouth". Articulation of specific speech sounds may also be impacted and common speech sound errors include: t, d, n, l, s, z, r, "ch" and "j". Without first correcting the oral rest posture it will be difficult to fully correct these sound errors with traditional speech therapy.
There are many diagnostic criteria that must be considered in the formulation of a therapy program. Age, motivation, as well as current orthodontic treatment must all be taken into account. The age of the child is not as important as the motivation to succeed and ability to commit to the therapy program (attention/behaviour). Early identification and intervention such as eliminating sucking habits, or identifying other causative factors can allow for more typical dental growth and abnormal habits will not be ingrained.
In order to succeed in habituating a new proper oral rest posture, the principles of neuroplasticity need to be considered in therapy (how the brain changes). These include: intensity of practice (practice must be focused and uninterrupted), frequency of using the new skills (daily practice) and specificity (to improve rest posture and swallowing we need to work on rest posture and swallowing). Changing habits takes time and new habits need to be practiced daily and over a long period of time to ensure that they replace the old habits and to minimize the risk of relapse.
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