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What is an Orofacial Myofunctional Disorder (OMD)?


Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders (OMDs) are atypical, adaptive patterns that emerge in the absence of normalized patterns within the orofacial complex. The regular presence of these adaptive movements can often result in a variety of disturbances. 


Examples of OMDs include one or a combination of the following: 

  • Thumb and finger sucking habits 

  • A routine habit of resting with the lips apart 

  • A forward resting posture of the tongue between or against the teeth 

  • Tongue Thrust 

  • Other harmful oral habits 

OMDs are often related to, or can contribute to, a variety of dental disorders, including: 

  • Malocclusion (improper alignment of the teeth) 

  • Periodontal disorders 

  • Orthodontic relapse 

  • Changes associated with abnormal jaw growth and position 

Other symptoms can also be present in clients who have OMDs: 

  • Airway Obstruction (ex . enlarged adenoids, or deviated septum) 

  • Changes associated with abnormal jaw growth and position 

  • Sleep Apnea/Sleep-Disordered Breathing 

  • Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ) 

  • Tongue and lip ties

Jana Wallen, OMT Specialist


What is Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy (OMT)? 


OMT is a structured and systematic approach to address orofacial myofunctional disorders.  This approach, which is performed by a trained SLP, uses principles and exercises to retrain muscle function and eliminate oral habits that are adversely impacting breathing, swallowing, feeding and speech. 


Intervention goals may include the following: 

  • Normalize tongue and lip resting postures 

  • Establish nasal breathing patterns 

  • Eliminate improper chewing and swallowing patterns 

  • Address harmful oral habits including:

    • ​Prolonged pacifier use 

    • Thumb and/or finger sucking 

    • Clenching or grinding of the teeth 

    • Other oral habits 

We use a multidisciplinary approach, consulting and collaborating with other professionals such as dentists, orthodontists, ENTs, lactation consultants, and others professionals to ensure we integrate a wholistic  approach to Orofacial Myofunctional treatment.   

Source: (IAOM, Talk Tools)  

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