What is Orofacial Myology?
Orofacial Myology is the science and clinical knowledge of restoring normal and mutual interaction of the orofacial muscle groups (muscles of the face and mouth), dentition and respiration that is the physiological basis of speaking, chewing and swallowing. It is a program designed to correct orofacial muscle dysfunction and abnormal swallowing patterns.
Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders are any pattern involving oral and/or orofacial muscles that interfere with normal growth, development or function.
Correct function of oral and facial muscles is paramount for facial development including tooth alignment, jaw shape and function.
What can lead to an Orofacial Myofunctional Disorder ?
In most cases it is the result of a combination of factors, and may result from any of the following:
o Improper oral habits, such as thumb or finger sucking, dummy, blanket etc.;
o Orofacial habits such as nail biting, cheek and lip biting, clothes chewing and grinding of teeth;
o Restricted airway, which can be due to enlarged tonsils or adenoids, a narrow or vaulted palate, a large tongue, an over-sized uvula and/or allergies;
o Structural or physiological abnormalities such as a restrictive lingual frenum (tongue-tie);
o Neurological or developmental abnormalities; and,
o Hereditary predisposition to some of the above factors.
What can these disorders result in ?
o Incorrect tongue rest position;
o Crooked teeth;
o Crowded mouths;
o Mouth breathing;
o Poor posture;
o Incorrect mastication (chewing) function;
o Altered speech patterns;
o Asymmetrical lip appearance and function; and,
o Asymmetrical facial appearance and function.
This involves the thrust of the tongue against or through the teeth during swallowing. An incorrect position of the tongue during the act of swallowing and/or incorrect resting position can contribute to irregular facial development resulting from malalignment of teeth and other medical problems. A deviated swallow follows with a ‘duck-neck swallow’ action. This repeated action constantly destabilises the neck.
Sucking (thumb, finger, dummy) or biting habits (nails, lips)
These can create the same type of malalignment. What many parents do not realise is that this behaviour can continue well into adulthood causing social problems as well.
These conditions can assist in creating an open mouth, lips apart in the resting posture. This is often referred to as lip incompetence, and can distract from a pleasing facial appearance. It can also be seen in children with compromised airways.
Orofacial Myologists evaluate and treat patients with many orofacial dysfunctions or anomalies, correcting poor muscle function of the lips, tongue, face and neck.
The Goal of Orofacial Myology is to assist in the creation, restoration and maintenance of a normal and harmonious musculature environment.
If you have any questions, or would like to book a speech pathology or psychology appointment, please get in touch.
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