What is myofunctional therapy?
Myofunctional therapy programs address open mouth resting posture, tongue “thrusting” during chewing and/or during swallowing, immature chewing patterns, and uncoordinated food manipulation. Orofacial myology includes the evaluation and treatment of abnormal structure and/or functioning of the tongue, lips, and jaw in relation to oral rest postures, swallowing/chewing, and speech. Orofacial MyoFunctional Therapy focuses on remediation of thumb sucking/finger sucking and other oral habits such as nail biting, open mouth resting posture, “tongue thrusting,” and other difficulties that affect appropriate growth and development of the orofacial structures. Related factors can include allergies, enlarged tonsils or adenoids, excessive or extended thumb/finger sucking habits, excessive or extended pacifier or sippy cup use, and structure abnormalities such as tongue tie or lip tie. These factors should be addressed to ensure proper orofacial development.
What is an 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, and more. Most OMDs originate with insufficient habitual nasal breathing or with oral breathing. The subsequent adaptation of the muscles and the orofacial functions to a disordered breathing pattern creates many OMDs.
Myofunctional Therapy and Habit Elimination Programs:
Excessive and prolonged thumbsucking can affect a child’s teeth, speech, swallowing, appearance, and self-esteem. The teeth can be moved to an undesirable position as a result of the pressure from the thumb. This can cause an open-bite, over-jet (“buck teeth”), or cross-bite. Speech produciton can also be affected be a sucking habit. Sucking habits can also lead to mouth breathing. When we breathe through our mouth, we miss out on the many benefits of nasal breathing. These include the moistening of the air to make it the optimal temperature or our lungs to breathe and the filtering of air to keep out unwanted germs. This can lead to increased upper airway infections, middle ear infections, and colds. Orofacial myologists are specially trained to evaluate and treat the muscle of the mouth and face Our thumbing elimination program focuses on giving your child the confidence they need to break their thumb sucking habit, We use a proven, but fun and encouraging program to your child break their habit and maintain it!
Myofunctional Therapy and Tongue Tie:
We specialize in the before and after care for lip and tongue ties. When the tongue is anchored to the floor of the mouth, it is difficult to maintain the ideal tongue “resting posture” with lips closed at the tongue pressed up against the roof of the mouth. This can lead to a high, narrow palate that can affect facial development and the stabilization necessary for speech clarity. Tongue tie can also affect the processes of eating and swallowing. When the tongue is restricted, any of the following may result: messy eating, dental caries/tooth decay due to not being able to clean food from teeth, fatigue from chewing, inefficient chewing, bites that are too big, difficulty accumulating the bolus on the tongue in order to swallow, a tongue thrust swallowing pattern, malocclusion, difficulty licking ice cream cones, difficulty swallowing pills, and drooling due to poor management of saliva. Digestive problems may also develop due to poorly chewed foods (Boshart, 2015). Symptoms of Tongue Tie in Children
- Sleep Apnea
- Teeth gapping
- Teeth movement/turning/crowding even after braces
- Not being able to clean teeth properly with tongue
- Speech-Articulation Issues
- Slow movement of tongue while speaking
- Resonance issues
- Food and texture aversions
- Holding food in mouth instead of chewing
- Affected smile
- Jaw or TMJ issues
- Facial tension
- Throat/Neck pain while talking, eating, or chewing
Myofunctional Therapy and Tongue “Thrust” Swallowing:
Correct swallowing depends on a proper relationship between muscles of the face, mouth and throat. The act of swallowing is one function that depends on the body’s vital balance. To swallow properly, muscles and nerves in the tongue, cheeks and throat must work together in harmony. When a person swallows normally, the tip of the tongue presses firmly against the roof of the mouth or hard palate, located slightly behind the front teeth. The tongue acts in concert with all the other muscles involved in swallowing. The hard palate, meanwhile, absorbs the force created by the tongue. In a “tongue thrust” swallow, the tongue moves forward and pushes against the teeth. If a child is using this type of swallow, they may not efficiently clear the mouth of food drink, or saliva. The tongue thrust swallow is also associated with open-bites and over bites. Tongue thrust swallows may also affect speech production. Lisps are the most common problem associated with tongue thrusts, but s, z,sh, ch, and j may be affected. Our tongue thrust program can help “retrain” your child’s swallow for optimal oral development.
How do I know if my child has a tongue thrust swallow?
- Can you see your child’s tongue move forward between her gums and teeth when she swallows?
- Is there food left in your child’s mouth after she swallows one time? Try this with a cracker
- Does your child tense their lips when they swallow?
- Does your child tend to place too much food in their mouth?
- Does your child want sauces on most of their food?
- Does your child breathe through their mouth?
- Does your child have a persistent oral habit such a sucking their thumb, using a pacifier, or chewing on their clothing or objects?
- This information is from Diane Bahr MS CCC-SLP
How do I know if my child has a Myofunctional Disorder?
- Does your child have an open mouth at rest or do they breathe thorough their mouth?
- Does your child have rest their tongue against their teeth or between their teeth?
- Have your child’s teeth moved after orthodontic treatment?
- Does your child’s jaw or neck hurt often?
- Do you have an incorrect swallowing pattern? (e.g., tongue thrusting in between, forward or sideways against the teeth, chewing with your mouth open)
- Does your child have frequent headaches?
- Does your child drool or have bloating or stomach distress after eating?
- Is your child a stomach or side sleeper?
- Does your child have oral habits such as thumb, finger or pacifier sucking habits
- Does your child have a lisp at times when saying the “s” sound?
If you answer “YES” to 4 or more questions, a Myofunctional Therapist may be able to help! Learn more about the International Association of Orofacial Myology at: http://iaom.com/
A shy child speaks up loud and clear
At the age of 2, my son’s preschool teacher noticed he was a little behind in his speech, he was muttering in a low tone. It was hard for anyone to understand what he was trying to tell us. When I was told he needed therapy, I was a bit nervous because my son is very shy around people he is not familiar with. I was afraid the speech therapist would get nowhere with him, but boy was I wrong. By the end of his first session with Ms. Brooke my son was comfortable with her; he did not want the session to end. Ms. Brooke took the time to research new ideas and activities that would accommodate my son’s needs to help him open his mouth when speaking. She focused the entire session on making sure he practiced the ability to speak up loud and clear while still having fun and kept him engaged. He only had therapy for 5 short months; Ms. Brooke gave him the confidence he needed to speak up. He continues to ask to see Ms. Brooke, he misses her so much. She left him with such great moments and experiences that I do not think he will ever forget her.
Brooke's heart is in her work, and you can tell she loves what she does
Brooke has been working with my son Colton for about a year now. She is an amazing speech path and has created a great relationship with him during that time. He is always super excited to see her, and sees the time he spends with her as play time. Yet he’s always learning. Colton has an obsession with trains, and so generally wants to show her how his trains are set up every week. Brooke manages to incorporate whatever skill they are working on into this play. Whether it was putting more than one word together, or focusing on certain sounds, or not dropping the endings of words. She also leaves us with suggestions on what to do with him over the next week to help with the goal that we are currently working on.
Brooke’s heart is in her work, and you can tell she loves what she does. If you choose to work with her, you will be happy with the results you see. Colton had had an explosion of vocabulary this year, and I know she contributed greatly to that.
Her gentle and compassionate approach was just the connection my son needed
My son Finnian was diagnosed with autism at age 3 and was non verbal. I remember being so scared and stressed about Finn’s future until I met his team of teachers and therapists. Miss Brooke was my son Finn’s speech therapist in his EC Pre-K classroom. She was amazing with Finn and supportive to me. Her gentle and compassionate approach was just the connection my son needed to feel safe and grow. One of my favorite qualities of Miss Brooke is her genuine enthusiasm when working with my son. I will always be grateful for her twinkling eyes and contagious smile when discussing my son’s progress and growth. Thank you Miss Brooke!