Is Myofunctional Therapy Right For You?
About Myofunctional Therapy
It's Not Actually A "New" Concept
You may only be learning about Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy (OMT) for the first time, but it actually isn't a new concept. Literature supporting OMT to guide facial and airway development date back to the late 1800s!
The reason why OMT seems to be trending these days is because much of the validated research supporting it has only been published in more recent years.
What is Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy?
OMT is also referred to as Orofacial Myology, Tongue Thrust Therapy, and sometimes just "Myo". OMT is an exercise based program that works to restore normal function of the orofacial muscles. Not only do we focus on strengthening the muscles of the tongue, mouth, and face, but we also work to re-pattern their neuromuscular connections to establish new, healthy habits.
What are Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders (OMD's)?
As mentioned above, OMT works to restore NORMAL function of the orofacial muscles. But what is ABNORMAL?
Abnormal function of the orofacial muscles are described as Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders (OMDs). The core symptoms include:
Open Mouth Resting Posture
Incorrect Resting Tongue Posture (low resting tongue, not resting against the roof of the mouth)
Aberrant Swallow Pattern (AKA Tongue Thrust Swallow/Reverse Swallow/Retained Infantile Swallow)
These may, in theory, sound like small issues. In reality, these issues can have a major impact on our health and wellbeing. If OMDs are not corrected, it can result in poor dental, facial and airway development in growing children. In adulthood, this can negatively impact our sleep, speech, posture, mental health, hormone balance, digestion, oral health, and result in chronic pain like TMJ issues, headaches and facial pain.
The Four Goals of Myofunctional Therapy
Myofunctional Therapy works to correct Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders.
Though OMT targets the orofacial muscle patterns, the main focus is to promote optimal airway health. When the goal of Myofunctional Therapy are achieved, the result is a more functional and efficient airway. Proper oxygenation is vital to overall wellness. For this reason, better breathing lays the foundation for improving health in all systems of the body.
There are four goals of Myofunctional Therapy:
1) Nasal Breathing
2) Lip Seal
3) Proper Tongue Posture
4) Correct Swallow Pattern
Benefits of Myofunctional Therapy
By achieving the four goals of Myofunctional Therapy, many experience improvements in their quality of life such as:
Reduced Nasal Congestion
Reduced Allergies and Asthma Symptoms
Improved Attention Span
Reduced or Eliminated TMJ Pain
More Stable Orthodontic and Jaw Surgery Outcomes
Results vary depending on the individual case and level of compliance