Orofacial myology is the study of the facial and oropharyngeal muscles and their movements and how those movements can affect breathing, swallowing, speech, posture and facial development. An Orofacial myofunctional disorder refers to abnormal resting lip and tongue posture, atypical breathing patterns or blocked nasal airways (non nasal breathing), atypical chewing and swallowing patterns, dental malocclusions (misalignment of teeth) and speech problems (those that occur as a result of poor oral placement and muscle development). Additionally, teeth grinding/bracing, lip incompetency (incomplete closure) and digit sucking habits are all symptoms of a myofunctional disorder.

Who could benefit?

An Orofacial Myofunctional Disorder can affect anyone from birth right through to adulthood and can present with a range of signs and symptoms differing in severity. Some signs and symptoms of an orofacial myofunctional disorder include;

  • Poor latching during breast or bottle feeding
  • Difficulties coordinating a suck-swallow-breathing
  • Tongue protrusion past the lower lip during at rest
  • Reduce range of motion of the tongue
  • Open mouth posture/low tongue posture (sits in base of mouth)
  • Difficulties transitioning to straw or cup drinking
  • Gagging/vomiting
  • Poor speech clarity/atypical productions
  • Open mouth/non nasal breathing (obstruction due to tonsils, adenoids, tongue in airway)
  • Picky eating
  • Drooling and poor oral control (eg; controlling food/fluid in the mouth)
  • Restricted tissue of the lip and/or tongue (lip or tongue tie)
  • Presence of a high/narrow palate (roof of mouth)
  • Dental malocclusions (open bite, overjet, underbite)
  • Presence of tongue thrust and/or messy eating
  • General body posture

Who can help?

Treatment of an Orofacial Myofunctional Disorder requires a multidisciplinary team approach which may consist of but not limited to a;

  • Paediatrician/physician
  • Speech language pathologist
  • Dentist/dental hygienist/orthodontist
  • ENT specialist
  • Certified Orofacial Myologist
  • Physiotherapist, osteopath, chiropractor, massage therapist, occupational therapist
  • Lactation consultant

As described above, Orofacial Myofunctional Disorder has a range of symptoms and the first step would be to get a diagnosis done on exactly what needs to be done for the patient. TAG has various occupational therapists, speech pathologists and physiotherapists at different locations in Queensland to do a pre-assessment. Please contact us to get an appointment booked and with reduced waiting times in 2021, there is a high chance of getting an assessment done in the first month of 2021!