An orofacial myofunctional disorder (OMD) is a condition that affects the muscles and functions of the mouth, face, and throat. OMDs can be caused by a variety of factors such as tongue thrust, thumb-sucking habits, airway issues, or abnormal muscle patterns.

People with OMDs may have difficulty with basic functions such as speaking, chewing, swallowing, or breathing. They may also have habits like mouth breathing or tongue thrusting, which can lead to dental or jaw problems over time.

Treatment for OMDs typically involves a combination of exercises, behavior modification, and sometimes the use of appliances or tools to help retrain the muscles and improve overall oral function. Early intervention and treatment can help prevent long-term dental and health issues and improve a patient's quality of life.

What is an Orofacial Myofunctional Disorder?
What are the signs and symptoms of an OMD?

The signs and symptoms of orofacial myofunctional disorders (OMDs) can vary depending on the individual and the specific type of disorder they have. Some common signs and symptoms of OMDs may include:

Mouth breathing, especially during sleep
Speech difficulties, such as lisping or difficulty pronouncing certain sounds
Difficulty with chewing or swallowing food
Tongue thrusting or tongue-tie
Thumb or finger-sucking habits
Open bite (when the front teeth do not touch when the mouth is closed)
Crowded or misaligned teeth

Headaches or jaw pain

Snoring or sleep apnea

Chronic neck and shoulder pain

Who can help to treat a diagnosed OMD?

Treating an orofacial myofunctional disorder (OMD) often requires a team approach involving various healthcare professionals. The team may include:

Orofacial Myologist - An orofacial myologist will be the primary healthcare professional responsible for the diagnosis and treatment of the OMD. They will develop a customized treatment plan based on the patient's specific needs and work closely with the rest of the team to achieve optimal results.

Dentist or Orthodontist - A dentist or orthodontist may be involved in treating OMDs that are related to dental or jaw alignment issues. They may provide orthodontic treatment or use appliances such as palatal expanders, braces or retainers to help correct the underlying dental or jaw issues.

Speech Therapist - A speech therapist may be involved in treating OMDs that are related to speech difficulties or oral motor dysfunction. They may provide exercises and therapy to improve tongue and lip muscle control, and coordination needed for speech and swallowing.

Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) Specialist - An ENT specialist may be involved in treating OMDs that are related to nasal or airway issues such as snoring or sleep apnea.

Working together, this team can provide comprehensive care to help the patient overcome their OMD and improve their overall oral function and health.

How is an OMD treated?

The treatment for an orofacial myofunctional disorder (OMD) typically involves a combination of therapy, exercises, and behavioral changes designed to retrain the muscles of the mouth, face, and throat, and improve overall oral function. The specific treatment plan will depend on the individual's specific condition and symptoms, as well as the severity of the disorder.

Here are some common approaches to treating OMDs:

Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy: This therapy involves exercises to strengthen and retrain the muscles of the face, tongue, and throat, helping to correct the abnormal muscle patterns that contribute to the OMD. An orofacial myologist will develop a customized treatment plan based on the patient's specific needs, which may include exercises such as tongue placement, swallowing exercises, and breathing techniques.

Behavior Modification: This involves changing habits that contribute to the OMD, such as thumb-sucking, mouth breathing, or tongue thrusting. The patient may be given specific instructions on how to break these habits and encouraged to practice new behaviors that support improved oral function.

Appliances or Tools: In some cases, an appliance or tool such as a tongue crib, palatal expander, or myofunctional orthodontic appliance may be used to help support the therapy and retraining of the muscles.

Collaboration with other healthcare professionals: Depending on the underlying cause of the OMD, the orofacial myologist may work closely with other healthcare professionals, such as dentists, speech therapists, or ENT specialists, to ensure comprehensive care.

Overall, the goal of OMD treatment is to help the patient achieve optimal oral function and improve their quality of life. With regular therapy and commitment to the recommended exercises and behavioral changes, patients can make significant progress in correcting their OMD.

Here is a list of references and resources for more information on orofacial myofunctional disorders (OMDs):

International Association of Orofacial Myology (IAOM): This organization provides information, resources, and training for orofacial myologists and professionals interested in learning more about OMDs. Their website includes a list of certified orofacial myologists and information on continuing education opportunities. (

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA): ASHA provides information on speech and language disorders, including OMDs. Their website includes resources for professionals and patients, as well as a directory of certified speech-language pathologists. (

National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR): The NIDCR provides information and research on dental and craniofacial disorders, including OMDs. Their website includes resources for patients and professionals, as well as information on ongoing research. (

Journal of Orofacial Myology: This peer-reviewed journal publishes research and articles on orofacial myology and related disorders. It is a valuable resource for professionals interested in learning more about the latest research and treatments for OMDs. (

These resources can help provide a deeper understanding of orofacial myofunctional disorders and the best practices for assessment and treatment.

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