Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders

The International Association of Orofacial Myology (IAOM) is a certifying body for orofacial myologists, defines Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders as “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.” 

Orofacial myology is the treatment of orofacial dysfunction or orofacial myofunctional disorders (OMD). A differential diagnosis to determine specific structural and/or functional impacts will help in establishing an individualized treatment plan. Examples of OMDs include:

-Open, oral resting posture/mouth breathing

-Tongue thrust during swallow and/or speech

-Sucking habits (thumb, fingers, tongue, etc.)

-Clenching and grinding

-Tongue, lip, and cheek ties

OMDs can lead to changes in dental alignment (malocclusion), maxillary and mandibular jaw growth patterns, airway, chewing, swallowing, speech sound production, and sleep patterns.

Tethered Oral Tissue (TOTs)

It is a critical a speech-language pathologist (SLP) or orofacial myologist (COM) with specific training in orofacial complex structure and function with a focus on oral phase feeding and swallowing is utilized for pre- and post-frenectomy care as part of a team (TOTs savvy dentist, physical therapist, chiropractor, lactation consultant, craniosacral therapist, etc.). The SLP/COM provides supports for guiding oral and facial structural development, oral movement patterns, and transition to optimal functional patterns for oral rest posture, breathing, breastfeeding, chewing, swallowing, and speech sound production as related to new range of motion and muscle patterns following a frenectomy.

Making an appointment to have a tongue, lip, or cheek tie “snipped” or “lasered” is not sufficient. It is critical to receive pre-frenectomy care in order to receive optimal function post-frenectomy. Prefrenectomy (or pre-op care) will increase movement and control of oral muscle movement patterns which will transition into post-operative habilitation activities focused on the development of correct function of the orofacial complex that can be maintained over the lifetime.

YSP accepts children (4+ years-old) AND adults for orofacial myofunctional therapy. Contact us today for a free consult!

**Please note orofacial myofunctional therapy is required for children to be four-years-old or older. This is due to the need for them to be able to participate in volitional exercises. Infants and toddlers presenting with OMDs are treated through passive movements based on feeding and oral motor skills.