What is an Orofacial Myofunctional Disorder

what is omdThousand Oaks, Westlake Village and Agoura Hills, CA

An orofacial myofunctional disorder does not just take a mouthful—no pun intended—to say. This family of disorders can have a negative impact on your oral health, and be detrimental to your overall health in the long run. It is important to identify and treat orofacial myofunctional disorders as soon as possible since they can affect a child’s development or lead to long-term health consequences into adulthood.

Orofacial myofunctional disorders, or OMDs for short, occur when negative habits or adaptive movements occur within the orofacial complex. Some examples of OMDs include thumb and finger sucking, tongue thrust, forward resting posture of the tongue between or against the teeth, oral resting posture with the lips apart, and other negative oral habits such as persistent lip biting.

Left untreated, an OMD can lead to other, more serious medical and dental issues such as malocclusion (bad bite), gum disease, orthodontic relapse, abnormal jaw growth, and airway issues that lead to obstructive sleep apnea. In fact, an untreated OMD in a child can affect his or her development to the extent of completely altering a child’s looks!

Determining the cause of an OMD can be a challenge, but experts in the field have identified several common causes of these disorders. One issue that is a regular source of OMDs is when the nasal airway has become restricted due to enlarged tonsils or adenoids, a deviated septum, or allergies. Other causes of OMDs can include improper oral habits such as biting of the nails or cheek, teeth grinding, and tongue or lip sucking. Also, extended use of a pacifier or sippy cups, structural or physiological issues that may stem from the presence of a restricted lingual frenum, also known as a tongue-tie, or neurological deficits and genetics may cause an OMD.

The consequences of living with an OMD can hinder your overall quality of life. Many OMD patients report that they experience problems eating, swallowing, and speaking during their early development. Speech issues also are a common symptom of an OMD patient, which is why early intervention is important to a child’s development.

Therapy should begin at a young age, as an OMD and the issues associated with it will not just go away on their own. The International Association of Orofacial Myology recommends that children as young as 4 years old can undergo an evaluation for causal factors of an OMD such as a restricted airway or a tongue-tie.

At The Connection, we have certified myofunctional therapists on staff that can diagnose and treat OMD. If it is found that your child has an OMD, our myofunctional therapists can prescribe a serious of exercises referred to as myofunctional therapy. The goal of these exercises is to retrain the muscles of the tongue, mouth, and face to function properly, essentially correcting the OMD.

The Connection has the special training and experience to diagnose and treat an OMD in a patient at any age. For a consultation, please contact us today at (818) 672-5055.

The Connection provides oral health care with a holistic approach for patients in the Agoura Hills and Westlake Village communities of southern California.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *