What is Orofacial Myology?
Orofacial Myology is the science and clinical knowledge of restoring normal and mutual interaction of the orofacial muscle groups (muscles of the face and mouth), dentition and respiration that is the physiological basis of speaking, chewing and swallowing. It is a program designed to correct orofacial muscle dysfunction and abnormal swallowing patterns.
Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders are any pattern involving oral and/or orofacial muscles that interfere with normal growth, development or function.
Correct function of oral and facial muscles is paramount for facial development including tooth alignment, jaw shape and function.
What can lead to an Orofacial Myofunctional Disorder?
In most cases it is the result of a combination of factors, and may result from any of the following:
o Improper oral habits, such as thumb or finger sucking, dummy, blanket etc.;
o Orofacial habits such as nail biting, cheek and lip biting, clothes chewing and grinding of teeth;
o Restricted airway, which can be due to enlarged tonsils or adenoids, a narrow or vaulted palate, a large tongue, an over-sized uvula and/or allergies;
o Structural or physiological abnormalities such as a restrictive lingual frenum (tongue-tie);
o Neurological or developmental abnormalities; and,
o Hereditary predisposition to some of the above factors.
What can these disorders result in?
o Tongue thrusting (abnormal swallowing pattern);
o Incorrect tongue rest position;
o Crooked teeth;
o Crowded mouths;
o Mouth breathing;
o Poor posture;
o Incorrect mastication (chewing) function;
o Altered speech patterns;
o Asymmetrical lip appearance and function; and,
o Asymmetrical facial appearance and function.
This involves the thrust of the tongue against or through the teeth during swallowing. An incorrect position of the tongue during the act of swallowing and/or incorrect resting position can contribute to irregular facial development resulting from malalignment of teeth and other medical problems. A deviated swallow follows with a ‘duck-neck swallow’ action. This repeated action constantly destabilises the neck.
Sucking (thumb, finger, dummy) or biting habits (nails, lips)
These can create the same type of malalignment. What many parents do not realise is that this behaviour can continue well into adulthood causing social problems as well.
These conditions can assist in creating an open mouth, lips apart in the resting posture. This is often referred to as lip incompetence, and can distract from a pleasing facial appearance. It can also be seen in children with compromised airways.
Orofacial Myologists evaluate and treat patients with many orofacial dysfunctions or anomalies, correcting poor muscle function of the lips, tongue, face and neck.
The Goal of Orofacial Myology is to assist in the creation, restoration and maintenance of a normal and harmonious musculature environment.
Orofacial myofunctional therapy may be recommended for a variety of functional or cosmetic reasons. The therapy program is designed to retrain muscular function and to aid in the creation and maintenance of a healthy, adaptive orofacial environment. It can also help in the retention of the dental and/or orthodontic treatment, enhance one’s appearance and can help maintain optimum dental health for a lifetime of benefits.
Orofacial Myology Therapy Program
Orofacial myology is therapy which deals with changing behaviour and muscle function. Habits are formed over a lifetime. The therapy consists of exercises performed for five minutes, two to three times a day. All muscles respond better to regular and consistent exercise. Appointments are scheduled every 1 – 2 weeks where a proficiency assessment is completed. With cooperation and commitment, a typical course of treatment takes approximately 8 visits for children. A longer course of treatment can be required for adults, depending on their symptoms and conditions.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Orofacial Myology Programs Available
o Tongue Thrust (deviated swallow pattern);
o Thumb, finger and dummy sucking;
o Biting habits (nails, lips, cheeks);
o Open mouth rest position (incompetent lips) – Mouth breathing;
o Tongue-tie (frenum);
o Asymmetrical lip appearance and movement;
o Asymmetrical facial appearance and movement;
o Altered speech pattern; and,
o Ageing face.