Lori Miller, RDH, COM®
A comprehensive approach to improve functions related to swallowing, oral habits, and nasal breathing.
This is where is starts! Is there a lack of function…..or dysfunction that needs to be corrected? The dysfunction we call OMD’s - orofacial myofunctional disorders. Scroll down for more information about OMD's . An evaluation will highlight the causes, the areas that can be improved and the treatment plan options
This part is "patient-led" and/or referred by other professionals.
What are our goals?
This is the part where we look at the structure we are starting with. Is there a foundational reason someone can’t breath through their nose? Is there an anatomical reason the tongue can’t raise up for a proper swallow or pushes forward against the teeth during the swallow? Is there a structural limitation for breastfeeding or speech development? Many of the structural issues get help from other providers. This is the area that becomes very multi-disciplinary as we all work toward common goals of proper function and improved health.
This is the most unique piece of the puzzle. I love helping people find excellent solutions that move them forward toward their goals. The myofunctional therapy programs range from short programs to eliminate sucking habits to longer programs designed to re-train sensory motor patterns through custom designed exercise programs over longer periods of time. I believe solutions start from research and educating ourselves.
What are Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders (OMD's) ?
Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders (OMD's ) are disorders of the muscles and functions of the face and mouth. They can arise from genetic, developmental and environmental factors and be influenced by learned behaviors. OMD’s include: tongue thrusting, chronic mouth breathing, sucking habits, speech articulation issues and swallowing issues.
The causes of OMD’s can be structural; airway interference issues, facial and oral developement, tongue-tie (ankyloglossia) or the result of learned behaviors (sucking habits) during critical times of development. There is rarely just one cause as one issue usually leads to another.
OMD’s can present issues at all ages. They can affect breastfeeding, facial skeletal growth and development, chewing, swallowing and sleep breathing. Over time, some OMD’s can result in dental malocclusion (open bite) and can play a role in TMJ issues.
It's a big topic, right? Click here if you like digging into the details and reading the latest research articles.
Myofunctional Therapy takes in all the contributing factors and works to unravel the situation, retrain where needed and refer as necessary. Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy (OMT) is a series of exercises and therapeutic techniques designed to optimize the function of the oral/facial muscles through neuromuscular retraining.
The Goals of Myofunctional Therapy
Proper tongue position
Correct chewing and swallowing pattern
To help eliminate sucking and undesirable oral habits
“The primary purpose of orofacial myofunctional therapy is to create an oral environment in which normal processes of orofacial and dental growth and development can take place, and be maintained (Hanson & Mason, 2003).”
Therapy programs that start with a complete evaluation. We look at the groups of muscles that are under-performing or have developed inappropriate muscle function. We explore the Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders (OMD's) explained above. In a patient-led discussion, we review the advantages of improving the function taking into account the patient’s goals.
Typical programs involve learning and practicing exercises for the areas that need improvement. Often there are referrals to other providers when help is needed with the structures we are working with or co-treatment to help us get to our goals. This is a multi-disciplinary field working with Dentists, Orthodontists, Oral Surgeons, Lactation Specialists, Speech Language Therapists, Body Workers (IE: Cranio-Sacral Therapists, Massage/Rolfing Specialists), Occupational Therapists and Physical Therapists.
The myofunctional therapy programs range from short programs to eliminate sucking habits to longer programs designed to re-train sensory motor patterns through custom designed exercise programs over longer periods of time.
Therapies & Services
Where To Start
30 Minute Free Consultation: I like to do these on my HIPAA Compliant Telehealth site. It can be on your computer or device that has a camera. After sending me a message and having a brief chat, I will explain how it works. This is a great way to see if we need to set up the complete evaluation.
Email or Message Me: Quick questions are another way to start the discussion.
Alternatives to Surgery in Children with Mild OSA, World Journal of
Otorhinolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, 2021