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Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 17 Aug 2017 | comments*Discuss
Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders Omds

Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders (OMDs) are disorders in which the structures of the face and mouth are different from the recognised norm. These differences interfere with swallowing and speech as well as the appearance and growth of the face and mouth. The structures involved in OMDs may be dental, skeletal or muscular, including the lips and tongue. "Tongue thrust" is probably the most common OMD, in which the tongue lies too far forward during rest and moves forward in an exaggerated way during speech and swallowing.

Symptoms of Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders

"Tongue thrust" is probably the most common symptom of OMDs. Most children cease to have an exaggerated tongue thrust during swallowing when they are young, but this decreases and eventually goes away all together as they grow so that it does not affect swallowing and speech. Many children with OMDs may feel self-conscious about their appearance and the effect of tongue thrust on their swallowing and speech. Speech problems, such as an inability to produce "sh", "zh", "ch", "j", "t", "d" and"n" sounds are, common with OMDs though some children may not have noticeable speech problems. Weak muscles in the tongue and lips, stronger muscles in the chin and misalignment of teeth are also common symptoms of OMDs.

Consequences of Untreated Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders

In addition to continuing speech problems, misaligned teeth and abnormal appearance there are other consequences of untreated OMDs. Chronic sore throats, enlarged tonsils and upper respiratory problems can all accompany untreated OMDs. The use of orthodontic equipment, usually for longer than average, and trouble wearing dentures later in adulthood are also common to untreated OMDs. Lowered self-esteem and self-confidence may result as well.

Diagnosing Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders

Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders affect dental, skeletal and muscular structures so it often requires a team of professionals to make a correct diagnosis. This team may include a dentist, orthodontist, doctor and speech therapist or pathologist. Examinations, observations and an investigation into certain behaviours (for example, thumb sucking or dummy sucking past a normal age) will all build a final diagnosis of an OMD.

Treating Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders

The professionals involved in diagnosing an OMD will be involved in treating an OMD, and referrals may be made as needed as well. Dentists and orthodontists will treat the effect of an OMD on the teeth, while a doctor will be able to treat other medical problems associated with an OMD, such as enlarged tonsils or allergies. The speech therapist or pathologist will be able to work with the individual to mitigate the effects of an OMD on speech, rest postures for the tongue and lips, and swallowing. The expected outcomes of such work will be different for each individual.

Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders, most commonly the "tongue thrust" affect dental, skeletal and muscular structures. Individuals with OMDs often experience swallowing and speech problems and there are a number of long-term consequences should an OMD go untreated. A team of professionals will work together to diagnosis and treat an OMD, including a speech therapist or pathologist to work on swallowing and speech. With the proper treatment, OMDs do not have to impact an individual's life for very long.

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Hi Our nine-year-old daughter has tongue thrust, as discovered only 8 months ago - we were never told about her partial tongue tie, nor about the tongue thrust by any dentist. We are now doing orthotropic treatment with her to correct the poor development of her lower jaw. With daily exercises, and constant admonishments, we are trying to mitigate her tongue thrust, which is essential. If I could cut off my arms to have her tongue thrust disappear, I would do it. There would seem to be no help at all, if you have no speech impairment, which she does not. Can you tell me if there is any myofunctional therapist we could access to help in our case? We live in Gloucstershire, though have already travelled far and wide to find the orthotropics help.We are working so hard, but why is there no one to support us, with therapy to help her retrain her tongue???
None - 17-Aug-17 @ 4:10 PM
Hi is there a myofunctional therapist in west midlands.Im in splint therapy now but still having issues and i believe its to do with my tongue posture. Any help appreciated
Laur - 15-Jan-17 @ 3:04 PM
Speaking from Experiance I have a forward tongue posture and have also had upper and lower jaw surgery 10 years ago. It hasn't worked and I still have issues. I'm looking into the therapy side of things and Orthotropics. Please research orthotropics BEFORE going for the surgery.
Mary - 11-Jan-17 @ 1:05 AM
I live in Kent (dartford) and have tongue thrust, do you know the nearest place to help me or recommend. It can be in London if need be, I just need to find the correct/best place to help
Loz - 12-Dec-16 @ 2:21 PM
Hi Kaz My daughter is in the exact same boat as yours, moth breather, excess saliva, speech deteriorating, bad posture Braces have straightened her teeth but they no longer have contact on Left, I have been told she has to wait til she is fully grown then have her jaw broken and realigned
Karen - 12-Jul-16 @ 11:12 AM
My daughter has allergies that have meant she breathes through her mouth, her chin is often hanging open and she has too much saliva, also her speech is deteriorating she is 13 now with braces but her jaws do not match on the left
Kaz - 21-Jun-16 @ 5:11 PM
I have severe sleep apnoea & would like to see a myofunctional specialist ..... I live in Chichester, West Sussex..... can you point me to the nearest or help in any way. Thank you . Barry Fitzgerald
Barry - 22-Jul-15 @ 9:38 AM
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Latest Comments
  • None
    Re: Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders
    Hi Our nine-year-old daughter has tongue thrust, as discovered only 8 months ago - we were never told about her partial…
    17 August 2017
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