Introduction to OM

What are the
Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders?

Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders (OMDs) are disorders of the muscles and functions of the face and mouth. OMDs involve behaviors and patterns created by inappropriate muscle function and incorrect habits involving the tongue, lips, jaw and face.

orofacial myofunctional disorders

What is
  Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy?

 Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy is a specialized professional discipline that evaluates and treats a variety of oral and facial (orofacial) muscle (myo-) postural and functional disorders and habit patterns that may disrupt normal dental development and also create cosmetic problems. The principles involved with the evaluation and treatment of orofacial myofunctional disorders are based upon dental science tenets; however, orofacial myofunctional therapy is not dental treatment.

Frequently asked questions

How does myofunctional therapy differ from dental or orthodontic treatment?

Dental evaluations and treatments focus primarily on providing health and stability of teeth in occlusion, or contact. By contrast, myofunctional therapy is concerned with orofacial functional patterns and postures when teeth are apart, which they are for over 95% of each day and night.

Who Should Treat Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders?

The stomatognathic system is supported by an interdisciplinary team including speech language pathologists, otolaryngologists, orthodontists, dentists and others. Treatment should be completed by a specially trained professional as an Orofacial Myologist. Evgenia Stefanaki, owner and director of All for Speech Center, is the first and only one specializing in orofacial myofunctional therapy in Nicosia.

How Effective is Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy?

Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy has helped literally thousands of individuals, in dozens of countries, for over 30 years. Numerous studies have demonstrated its effectiveness, which revealed that treatment for orofacial myofunctional disorders can be 80-90% effective in correcting rest posture, swallowing and other oral functions and that these corrections are retained years after completing therapy.

There are many factors that contribute to the success of the therapy program. It is truly a team effort. Effective communication and cooperation between therapist and the dental and medical community is essential. In addition, successful orofacial myofunctional therapy depends on the patient's desire, dedicated cooperation and self-discipline to follow-through with therapy assignments and support from others. To ensure optimum results for children undergoing therapy, parental involvement and encouragement is important and necessary.

Should Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy occur before or after orthodontic treatment?

Orthodontic and Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy can be closely related with each directly impacting the other. Each case must be analyzed and discussed by the professionals involved. Treatment may be indicated before, during, and or after orthodontics. Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy specialists promote a balance of the muscle and orofacial functions, improving the oral rest posture of the tongue and thus the stability of these cases treated by orthodontists by helping diminish orthodontic relapse after the removal of braces.

Why should a mouth breather seek an Orofacial Myofunctional Therapist?

An individual who breathes through the mouth can seek an Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy Specialist to assist in the treatment of mouth breathing, as any general Myofunctional Therapist is trained to deal with these cases, but some seek additional training in respiratory education techniques that may be helpful in treatment. Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy is commenced only after evaluation of the cause. It is advisable to also work within an allied team, with an otholaryngologyst/ENT, a breathing specialist and /or an allergist as well.

What can happen with an infant with tongue tie if not treated?

Many people with tongue-tie suffer the consequences without knowing the cause. There are infants who have changes in the feeding cycle, causing stress for the infant and for the mother; there are also children with difficulties in chewing, children and adults with speech problems affecting communication, social relationships and professional development. With the chronic oral rest posture of the tongue in the floor of the mouth, many of the Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders (OMDs) enumerated above may result.

How could orofacial myofunctional therapy be related to cases of snoring?

Whoever snores and presents Obstructive Sleep Apnea should be treated by a multidisciplinary team including a sleep specialist. In this team, the Orofacial Myofunctional Specialist may help by directing and performing specific exercises to strengthen the muscles of the mouth and throat and exercises that may help, if indicated, in improving oral rest posture.