Orofacial Myology (OM), or Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy (OMT), is the the identification and treatment of myofunctional disorders where the face, tongue, and jaw muscles are not functioning as intended.
Myofunctional disorders cause disruption in the growth and development of the craniofacial anatomy and the development of teeth and their arrangement in the mouth. They have also been shown to disrupt neurotransmitter function. Muscles dictate where bones develop. If bones are not developing where they should, the muscles have to be reeducated in order to achieve the desired outcome.
Orofacial myology treats the underlying cause of the problem, not just the symptoms, and works well as a complement to other dental and orthodontic treatments. However it can also be used as a standalone option to help prevent problems from worsening over time, particularly in children.
What conditions might OM be used to treat?
- Dysfunctional orofacial habits (thumb and finger sucking, nail biting, snoring, mild sleep apnea, mouth breathing and trichotillomania (excessive hair pulling))
- Posturing problems related to the lips, tongue, jaw, body, and respiratory system
- Abnormal neuromuscular responses associated with improper chewing and swallowing
- Dysfunctional breathing habits, including mouth breathing
- Hyper and hypo sensitivity of the orofacial complex
- Swallowing patterns associated with malocclusion (crooked teeth and “bad bites”)
- Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) and snoring
- Facial and postural aesthetics
What does OM involve?
Treatment by an Orofacial Myofunctional Therapist (OMT) involves short exercises to help train your muscles to function properly, much like going to the gym strengthens your muscles in other areas of your body. It is painless and non-invasive, and yes, it does look a lot like you’re “pulling faces”!
Dr Mariola Prokop will advise you following your initial consultation if you or your child require OMT as part of their treatment, and answer any further questions you have about what to expect.