A Quick Guide to Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders

Written by Nicci Sauve

December 6, 2022

A quick guide to orofacial myofunctional disorders (OMDs) and how they impede the development, function and normal growth of facial structure. 

Both adults and children can develop OMDs.  OMDs are often diagnosed in conjunction with speech, eating, breathing and swallowing disorders.

OMDs may include the following:

  • Mouth breathing instead of nasal breathing
  • Limited tongue movement
  • Difficulty chewing and swallowing
  • Developing an overbite or underbite
  • Developing tongue thrust
  • Trouble pronouncing certain letters
  • Drooling, especially beyond the age of two
  • Improper resting position of tongue and lips
  • Improper facial development

What Causes OMDs?

There is not a single cause of OMDs and they can be influenced by several factors:

  • Nasal passages that have become blocked because of allergies.  Blocked nasal passages often cause people to breathe through their mouth. 
  • Chronic throat and ear infections that can lead to enlarged tonsils.
  • Excessive thumb sucking past the age of three years.
  • Trauma to the facial or neck area.

What Are the Long-Term Effects of OMDs?

Overtime, OMDs negatively impact the development of the facial structure. 

This begins the snowball effect altering:

  • The alignment of the jaw
  • How we chew and swallow
  • The resting position of the tongue and lips
  • Development of receding chin
  • Development of a long “horsey” face

What is the Best Treatment for OMDs?

Treatment for OMDs typically starts with Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy.  The word Myo means of muscle or related to muscles.   The word myofunctional is related to or concerned with muscle function. 

Myofunctional therapy’s goal is to retrain the muscles to function properly and it is painless and the exercises are relatively simple. 

When certain muscles of the face are activated and functioning properly, other muscles will follow suit. 

Myofunctional therapy also aims at restoring nasal breathing, correcting tongue arrangement at rest, and correcting the inability to swallow properly.

Ready to set up an appointment? Get in touch with Myofunctional Vibe on the Contact Us page. Online consultations available!

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