Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders

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Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders

What is an orofacial myofunctional disorder (OMD)?

An orofacial myofunctional disorder results from behaviours and patterns created by inappropriate muscle function and incorrect habits involving the tongue, lips, and jaws.

These disorders include one or more of the following:

• Incorrect swallowing pattern (Tongue Thrust) – the improper placement and function of the tongue during swallowing. When swallowing, the tongue thrusts in between, forward or sideways against the
• Incorrect Lip/Tongue Resting Posture – includes open lip posture and low or forward tongue resting
posture against the teeth.
• Oral Habits – Thumb, finger or dummy sucking habits beyond an appropriate age. Other oral habits
include fingernail biting, lip biting, lip licking, and tongue sucking.

Some indicators of OMDs include:

• Frequent mouth breathing in the absence of allergies or nasal congestion.
• Frequent open-lips resting posture.
• Habitual low tongue resting posture against the upper/lower teeth.
• Lips are often dry, chapped, cracked and sore from excessive licking.
• Tongue protruding between or against the upper/lower front teeth when forming /s/, /z/, /t/, /d/, /n/, /l/, /sh/ and /j/.
• During the act of swallowing, the lips squeeze and the chin has a tightened
• Snoring can also be an indication of an OMD
• Some tooth malalignment can be an indication
• Noisy chewing and swallowing (smacking and gulping).

How are Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders corrected?

Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy corrects the tongue resting posture by teaching a closed lips nasal breathing posture, correct eating, drinking and swallowing patterns and any speech
articulation problems which may be related to the habitual open‐lips resting posture.

Reduction of finger/thumb/finger sucking is also a focus with younger children. In some cases,
orthodontic correction may be needed to encourage more normal functional and rest postures and it
may be necessary to have a nasal airway assessment by a doctor to ensure the individual can breathe comfortably through the nose.

Length of treatment depends on the specific issue(s) involved and the individual’s consistency
carrying out home practice and their motivation to change.

To make an appointment with Catherine Simpson, please call Stirling Speech and Allied Services Morley 08 9275 7118.

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