Tongue Thrust and Orofacial Myofunctional Disorder:

Speech-Language Pathology Treatment for Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders

Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy focuses on nasal breathing and appropriate resting postures of the tongue, lips, and jaw.  Airway problems, sucking habits, tongue/lip ties, and tongue thrust all contribute to abnormal resting postures.  These abnormal postures can be detrimental to facial and dental development which may cause problems with the development of speech sounds, swallowing, eating and breathing.  

 

Our SLPs who are trained in Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders (OMDs) take a collaborative approach to treating orofacial myofunctional disorders by working in conjunction with medical professionals such as dentists, orthodontists, ENTs, allergists, physical therapists and other body workers such as cranial-sacral therapists or chiropractors.  Through collaboration, we are able to provide you and your family with the highest level of care. 

 

Signs and Symptoms of an Orofacial Myofunctional Disorder

  • Nursing difficulties
  • Mouth Breathing
  • Picky eating
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Snoring/ Sleep Apnea
  • Tongue Thrust- tongue pushing past the teeth
  • Stubborn speech sounds;  especially /s/, /z/, /r/, /l/, /k/, /g/, /n/, /d/, /t/ “sh”, “ch”, “j”
  • Teeth grinding and clenching
  • Misaligned teeth or bite
  • Oral habits (thumb sucking, prolonged pacifier use, nail-biting)
  • Drooling, especially beyond age 2
  • Jaw pain and Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ)
  • Neck/Shoulder tension and pain
  • Headaches
  • Gastrointestinals problems
  • ADHD
  • Forward head posture

Myofunctional Therapy Assessment

In order to determine the underlying causes of a client’s issues, we will begin with an orofacial myofunctional evaluation.  During the evaluation, we will assess the form and function of the oral and facial muscles to identify dysfunctional and abnormal movement patterns.  We will also observe a client’s breathing, chewing, swallowing and speech to develop a comprehensive understanding of the presenting problems.  The evaluation will guide treatment planning, goals and any necessary referrals or consultations with other professionals.  

 

Treatment Goals of Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy

  • Encouraging mouth breathing
  • Correcting resting posture of the tongue, lips and jaw
  • Provide retraining of the muscles for proper posture, and function in swallowing and speech
  • Balancing and equalizing the muscle use and tongue of the tongue, lips and face and neck muscles 
  • Eliminating oral habits (thumb sucking, nail-biting, clenching)
  • Correcting abnormal swallowing patterns
  • Improving posture