Benefits Of Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy
What is orofacial myofunctional therapy?
Orofacial myofunctional therapy (OMT) is not just “tongue therapy” or “tongue thrust therapy.” It’s the treatment of over 100 different interconnected muscles involved in the cranio-facial-respiratory complex. It involves targeted face, lip, tongue, jaw, postural, and breathing exercises as well as other therapeutic activities. The main goals of these treatments are to achieve habitual good oral rest posture (including nasal breathing) and balanced facial functions during activity. Treatment is individualized and varies based on the patient’s age, patient/parental concerns, clinical findings, and other factors. Oral placement and pediatric feeding therapy (offered by our speech-language pathologist and occupational therapist) are better options for younger children who are unable to complete volitional exercises and activitiesAt Pittsburgh Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy, LLC, we not a run-of-the-mill orofacial myology clinic. Because we have a licensed massage therapist on staff, we also have the ability to combine muscular reconditioning with advanced bodywork treatments, including intra- and extra-oral therapeutic massage, breathwork, manual lymphatic drainage, and more.
We strive to be a holistic practice with a focus on whole-body health and wellness.
Here are some of the reported benefits of orofacial myology:
- Orofacial myofunctional therapy is considered a great complement to orthodontic treatment. It is known to facilitate orthodontic treatment and reduce the chances of orthodontic relapse. Through good oral rest posture and proper chewing and swallowing mechanics, the muscle forces placed upon the teeth are balanced. This means that your orthodontist can move your teeth without facing an uphill battle against the forces of the lips and tongue, which could have contributed to your bad bite in the first place. Though orofacial myofunctional therapy is not orthodontic treatment, sometimes we see incidental and passive tooth movement just by training the tongue and lips in the right position! Orofacial myofunctional therapy has been associated with improvement of open bite and overjet with or without orthodontic intervention. Also, orofacial myofunctional therapy in conjunction with orthodontic treatment has been shown to be more effective in maintaining closure of anterior open bites than orthodontic treatment alone.
- Orofacial myofunctional therapy can help to reduce the chances of relapse after jaw surgery.
- Orofacial myology can help to prevent relapse in orthognathic (jaw) surgery, as atypical swallowing has been associated with relapse orthognathic surgery. Our licensed massage therapist/orofacial myologist will collaborate with your surgeon pre- and post-operatively. In addition to traditional orofacial myofunctional therapy services, we also provide manual lymphatic drainage, scar reduction massage, and other techniques to give you the best results possible. LED light therapy is coming soon!
- Orofacial myofunctional therapy may help you breathe through your nose after tonsil or adenoid surgery.
- Without intervention, nasal disuse, mouth breathing, and open mouth rest posture may persist post-surgery. After adenotonsillectomy in children, orofacial myofunctional therapy can promote positive muscular and functional changes.
- Orofacial myofunctional therapy can provide anticipatory guidance and help to re-educate lingual function after a frenectomy (tongue tie release).
- New research supports that a lingual frenuloplasty done in conjunction with myofunctional therapy may be a safe and potentially effective for the treatment of mouth breathing, snoring, clenching, and myofascial tension. Other research says that by working with a myofunctional therapy provider who can provide professional guidance, the likelihood of long-term post-operative benefits.
- Orofacial myofunctional therapy may help you sleep better and more soundly.
- Some research identifies orofacial myofunctional therapy as a possible adjunctive treatment for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), upper airway resistance syndrome (UARS), and snoring. By teaching oral rest posture and breath control during the day, our hope is that these habits become so well engrained that there is carryover over to night time. (Daytime breathing patterns are closely associated with nighttime breathing patterns).
- Conditioning the tongue and upper airway dilator muscles can prevent the tongue and soft palate from falling back into and obstructing the airway during sleep. Oral exercises may also help to improve tongue strength and reduce fat accumulation, which has also been associated with obstructive sleep apnea. Nasal/diaphragmatic breathing can also help the body to better tolerate and regulate carbon dioxide levels – something sleep apnea patients often struggle with. Breathing exercises have also been shown to help reduce nocturnal enuresis (bedwetting).
- Orofacial myofunctional therapy could improve your brain’s cognitive functions.
- Breathing through your nose not only makes you look smarter… it has been associated with enhanced focus, memory, and learning. It may also improve ADHD symptoms.
- Orofacial myofunctional therapy may enhance your facial appearance.
- If you stick to our recommendations, you just might see desirable changes in your facial appearance. A gummy smile, weak or depressed chin, shortened upper lip, short philtrum, lengthened face, poor midface growth, a substantial malocclusion (overbite, underbite, or open bite), and other undesirable facial traits are common signs of facial muscle dysfunction. Oral and facial exercises can define and firm the face. Balanced oral and facial muscle patterns can help to promote ideal craniofacial growth patterns, soften the face by releasing facial muscle tension, firm up the jaw line, promote blood flow to the skin and underlying musculature, and possibly even help to prevent or smooth wrinkles.
- Orofacial myofunctional therapy may enhance your athletic performance.
- Nasal breathing has been associated with improved athletic performance. It also naturally increases nitric oxide production, which provides cardiovascular and many other benefits. Also, palatal tongue posture has been associated with improved lower limb performance.
- Orofacial myofunctional therapy can improve your oral health.
- Mouth breathing changes the pH and the oral microbiome of the mouth. Nasal breathing, which is recommended in orofacial myology, reduces the risk of developing decay and/or periodontal disease. Orofacial functions, lingual and labial mobility and parafunctional habits can also affect tooth decay and the periodontal disease processes.
- Orofacial myofunctional therapy can optimize your GI system.
- The stomatognathic system begins with the mouth. A good, mature swallow generates positive pressure and initiates the peristaltic motion that pushes food through the digestive tract. A tongue thrust swallow is considered a negative pressure swallow. Because air is used to facilitate the swallow, this could result in air being swallowed. Swallowing excess air result in other digestive problems, such as aerophagia-induced acid reflux, gas, or bloating.
- Orofacial myofunctional therapy could prevent or alleviate head, neck, jaw, and ear pain.
- Orofacial myofunctional therapy can prevent pain caused by years of dysfunctional muscle use and compensatory patterns, but it can also reduce myofascial pain in patients with existing TMJ pain. Because TMJ dysfunction can show up in the ear, good oral function may also help alleviate otologic (ear) symptoms. Good oral posture involves the teeth a few millimeters apart, so we train you to unclench your jaw and to not have it hinged too far open either.
- Orofacial myofunctional therapy may be able to help Bell’s Palsy patients regain function.
- The myofunctional approach has demonstrated to be an effective method for the functional reestablishment in cases of facial paralysis. In collaboration with your medical doctor, we may also use light therapy and microcurrent machine to activate your muscles.
- Orofacial myofunctional therapy can help you to reduce oral habits.
- From sucking habits (like pacifiers and digit sucking). In our program, we not only work on oral rest posture, we work on optimizing your overall body posture. Good posture facilitates good breathing mechanics and vice-versa. Good posture and breathing also helps to ensure other good oral functions, like speaking, to biting habits (like nail biting and pen biting), orofacial myofunctional therapy offers a great opportunity for you to kick bad habits and develop healthy new ones!
- Orofacial myofunctional therapy may improve your posture.
- Your tongue sits above your spine, and your posture starts with the tongue at the roof of your mouth.
- The relationship between the stomatognathic system and body posture
- Orofacial myofunctional therapy may help with drooling.
- Orofacial myofunctional therapy targets drooling through general awareness, saliva control, lip seal, posture, jaw strength and stability, and more!
- Orofacial myofunctional therapy may help with pill swallowing.
- Difficulty with pill swallowing can be a sign of a dysfunctional swallow.
Is Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy Effective?
Several factors can influence the success of a therapeutic orofacial myofunctional therapy program, including the provider and patient dynamic.
At Pittsburgh Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy, LLC, our providers are top-notch. We have the experience and knowledge to provide targeted treatment for your specific needs. Likewise, the patient’s desire/willingness to change, cooperation, and self-discipline are also necessary for success.
The usefulness of orofacial myology treatment has been shown in numerous investigations. Orofacial myofunctional therapy is highly effective in correcting rest posture, swallowing, and other oral functions. Our program is designed to make long-term changes that will last for years to come.
Using Myofunctional Therapy to Your Advantage
At Pittsburgh Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy, LLC, we recognize the importance of oral/facial health to overall health. As a result, we’ve prioritized staying current with specialty treatment education and training. This involves a heavy emphasis on myofunctional therapy and its comorbidities.
If you have been diagnosed with or suspect that you have oral, facial, or respiratory muscle dysfunction, don’t hesitate to contact us as soon as possible to begin establishing your orofacial myofunctional therapy treatment plan.