Oral Myofunctional Therapy

What is an Oral Facial Myofunctional Disorder?

Oral facial myofunctional disorders (OMD) describe abnormal function of the oral and facial muscles. OMD also usually involves a combination of a tongue thrust swallow and abnormal lip and tongue resting positions. The basic problem is excessive pressure. Just as the orthodontist can move teeth by applying controlled force with wires and bands, the abnormal pressures of OMD can adversely influence the formation of the bony oral structures and/or position of teeth.

The excessive pressure caused by OMD may contribute to the development of speech problems and may make dental malocclusion worse.

Significant factors in development of OMD include:

  • prolonged thumb sucking
  • prolonged finger sucking
  • pacifier sucking
  • chronic upper respiratory disorders
  • enlarged tonsils
  • short lingual frenulum
  • a large tongue

Research has shown a high incidence of /s/ distortion or “lisping” in individuals with a tongue thrust. The tongue comes too far forward in –between the upper and lower front teeth resulting in a /th/ sound-for instance “thithter” rather than “sister”. There are a number of other sounds that can also be distorted as a result of OMD. They are /sh/, /ch/, /J/, /z/, /t/, /d/, /L/, /n/, and /r/.

When there is a combination of OMD and related articulation errors, it is often difficult to correct the speech distortions through traditional speech therapy alone. This is because the sounds that are most often affected by OMD require retraction and elevation of the tongue for correct production, whereas, OMD is characterized by a forward and low tongue function.

What is Oral Facial Myofunctional Therapy?

Therapy involves an individualized regimen of therapeutic oral and facial muscle exercise to develop a correct swallowing pattern and appropriate tongue and lip resting postures.

Parental Role in OMD Therapy

Your child cannot carry out his/her therapy program alone. For a child to change a pattern as basic as swallowing, there must be a willingness to direct a lot of thought and practice toward that goal. Parental supervision and participation are necessary to achieve this objective. When parents are informed, interested, and supportive they can make an enormous difference toward helping their child maintain a positive attitude and the dedication necessary to achieve a correction of OMD. This will facilitate orthodontic treatment and stability and ensure a lifetime of dental health.

County Speech’s Approach to Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy

County Speech offers a unique and effective approach to remediate orofacial myofunctional disorders. The core of our program is to develop the client’s intrinsic motivation to achieve success.

At County Speech we:

  1. boost self-esteem
  2. foster a positive therapy environment
  3. implement a “Team Approach” to eliminate orofacial myofunctional habits

Inspiring Confident Readers and Communicators

Language and Literacy go hand in hand. Whether your child is a struggling reader or has been diagnosed with dyslexia, our experts will build upon your child’s strengths to address academic challenges. At EBS Children’s Institute, our speech-language pathologists have the expertise to help your child develop listening, speaking, reading and writing skills for improved literacy at all grade levels. With our deep knowledge and understanding of how language and literacy are intertwined, we help your child prepare for and do well in school by building vocabulary and improved grammar, as well as developing stronger reading fluency, comprehension and written expression.