What Causes Orofacial Myofunctional Disorder?

What is Orofacial Myofunctional Disorder (OMD)?

Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders (OMDs) are disorders of the muscles and functions of the face and mouth.

OMDs may affect, directly and/or indirectly, breastfeeding, facial skeletal growth and development, chewing, swallowing, speech, occlusion, temporomandibular joint movement, oral hygiene, stability of orthodontic treatment, facial esthetics, and more.

What causes Orofacial Myofunctional Disorder?

While it is often difficult to pinpoint a single cause of OMD, it can often result from one or more of the following problems:

  • Improper oral habits including thumb, finger or long-term pacifier sucking
  • Restricted airway due to enlarged tonsils or adenoids; allergies; or chronic nasal obstruction
  • Family heredity
  • Structural or physiological abnormalities such as a short lingual frenum (tongue tie) or abnormally large tongue (macroglossia)
  • Chronic open mouth posture
  • Neurological or developmental abnormalities
  • What age should therapy begin?

How might Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders (OMD) affect everyday life?

An OMD may lead to an abnormal bite – the improper alignment between the upper and lower teeth known as malocclusion.

This problem may lead to difficulties in biting, chewing, swallowing, and digesting of food. If you want more information about tongue thrusts, please contact us today.

What are some symptoms of OMD?

  • Your lips usually rest apart.
  • Your tongue routinely rests against your teeth or pokes out between them.
  • You have trouble breathing through your nose.
  • You routinely have headaches or jaw, face or neck pain.
  • You habitually bite, suck or chew on your lips, nails, hair or other objects.
  • You snore, sleep restlessly or sometimes stop breathing while asleep.
  • You find it hard to eat neatly and quietly.
  • You have trouble swallowing pills.
  • You have speech issues.
  • Your face is elongated.

Myofunctional therapy is suitable for everyone from age 4 on up. Treatment around the age of 7 or 8 is ideal as oral habits are less ingrained at this stage and easier to change, encouraging healthy dental growth.

Patients of all ages can benefit from myofunctional therapy. Motivation and commitment are the keys to success.


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