Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy

Orofacial myofunctional therapy (MYO) is a specialized therapy that addresses oral motor disorders (OMD’s). More simply put, MYO addresses proper oral rest posture, proper swallow patterns, and noxious oral habits that impact optimal oral development (ie. thumb sucking, extended pacifier use, and other oral habits).

MYO has been around since the late 1800s! Dr. Edward Angle, who is considered the Father of Modern Orthodontics, believed that the cause of malocclusion (crooked teeth) was due to dysfunction of the orofacial muscles & nasal obstruction leading to chronic mouth breathing pattern, and the habits of the lips and tongue (open lips, tongue thrusting pattern) perpetuating the problem. MYO became out of fashion with more modern orthodontics that only focus on the aesthetics of the teeth, not the function of the oral & airway system as a whole.

MYO has started to make a comeback, as research is gaining in demonstrating the effectiveness of this modality in supporting airway concerns, sleep-disordered breathing, sleep apnea, improving airway patency following tonsillectomies, and more!

Symptoms of OMD’s may include:

  • Mouth breathing
  • Decreased movement of the tongue
  • Messy or difficulty with eating
  • Overbites/underbites or other dental occlusion discrepancies
  • Tongue rest posture extending past the lips, or on the floor of the mouth
  • TMJ pain or discomfort

Since the body is interconnected, we may also see changes in the head and next posture (forward head position) or elevation of one shoulder above the other. We may also see things like torticollis, or tilting of the pelvis.

To fully treat an OMD, it takes a team approach that may include:

  • A dentist specializing in airway management
  • Chiropractic or other bodyworker
  • Myofunctional therapist (can be OT/SLP/RDH)
  • ENT specializing in airway management
  • Allergy

Schedule a free consult to learn if myofunctional therapy would benefit your child.