Orofacial myology is a specialized discipline that focuses on the evaluation and treatment of oral and facial (orofacial) muscles. Myofunctional therapy is dedicated to treating problems of the face, jaw, and mouth by retraining the muscles to function as they should.
What is an Orofacial Myofunctional Disorder (OMD)?
An orofacial myofunctional disorder occurs when an abnormal lip, jaw, or tongue position is present during rest, swallowing, or speech. Problems that result from OMDs may include pain in the face and neck, poor sleep due to breathing difficulties, or ongoing issues after dental surgery or orthodontic work.
What Are the Causes of OMDs?
OMDs often result from extended pacifier use, chronic thumb sucking, prolonged bottle use, lip licking, nail-biting, upper airway obstruction due to enlarged tonsils, adenoids or allergies, or a restricted lingual frenulum. They can also result from muscular and structural differences or genetics.
Signs and Symptoms of OMDs
Symptoms of OMDs include pain or discomfort around the face, jaw, or mouth, pain or impairment of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), mouth breathing, obstructive sleep apnea, and poor posture. Signs you need to see an orofacial myologist also include crooked teeth, a crowded mouth, an asymmetrical appearance of the lips or face, tongue thrust, incorrect chewing function, speech sound errors or distortion, and dental abnormalities such as an overjet and open bite. Some patients seeking treatment may not have OMDs, but want to improve an aging facial appearance, without the need for cosmetic surgery.
What Does Myofunctional Therapy Involve?
Treatment by your orofacial myologist involves short exercises, a form of physical therapy that trains your oral and facial muscles to function properly, similar to going to the gym to build up other muscles in your body.
What Are the Benefits of Orofacial Myology?
People of all ages enjoy multiple benefits from seeing an orofacial myologist. Patients report an improved quality of life after treatment without having to resort to surgery. The non-invasive and painless therapy addresses the root cause of the problem, which helps alleviate the OMD symptoms, and also contributes to successful orthodontic intervention. When it comes to children, addressing orofacial muscle problems early on prevents the condition from progressing and allows them to experience normal growth and development.
Orofacial Myology Near Me
Contact Hebron Family Dentistry in Hebron, KY, to learn more about myofunctional therapy and for you or your family members. Dr. Watson and her team take pride in offering outstanding services to support your oral health and wellness. We look forward to helping you maintain long-term healthy smiles. Call us and schedule your appointment today!