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Orofacial Myology

Therapy consists of a program of exercises to address and correct:

  • The At-rest posture
  • Swallowing pattern
  • Any contributing incorrect oral habits, such as:
    • Prolonged thumb and finger sucking
    • Lip licking/biting/sucking
    • Open mouth breathing
    • Food and object chewing problems

This program is individualized to the patient’s needs, and has proven to be highly effective. Scientific studies have shown treatment to be 80 -90% effective in correcting the disorder. And these corrections are retained years after completing of therapy (Hahn & Hahn, 1992).

Here are some examples of the orthodontic damage that can be done by OMDs:
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    Anterior Open Bite
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    Anterior Open Bite - 7 mos later
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    Overbite (front)
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    Overbite (side)
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    Result of Prolonged Thumb Sucking
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    Tongue Tie

The good news is that these results can be corrected with the cooperation of the dentist, orthodontist, physician, orofacial myologist, and speech therapist. The program also requires the cooperation of the patient and family, who need to work hard to change the damaging habits. These habits are most frequently the result of long standing airway issues. The habitual open mouth breathing posture that air borne allergies, asthma and/or structural problems necessitate need to be addressed. Frequently, any associated articulation disorders are corrected at the same time as the tongue is correctly postured for at-rest posture and swallowing.

Children under the age of seven (7) can benefit from a thumb/finger stopping program, but for the full myofunctional program a maturity level of seven years is usually required.

Not all patients are children. Many adults these days are interested in their orthodontic problems for dental health and cosmetic reasons. They are usually more focused and can prove to be excellent patients.

Articulation Disorders

After an initial evaluation, an individualized program is developed to correct the speech disorder. The articulation disorder may, or may not be associated with a myofunctional disorder—each case is different. But if there is a myofunctional component, a therapist with extensive knowledge of both areas is best able to serve the patient.