Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy

What is Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy?

Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy helps retrain the oral and facial muscles and teaches how to swallow a new way, with the tongue moving up and back against the palate of the mouth.

What is Tongue Thrusting?

A tongue thrust occurs when swallowing patterns are abnormal. The tongue pushes against the front teeth of through the upper and lower teeth. A deviant swallow affects the balance of orofacial muscles involved in swallowing and may contribute to certain dentist and speech problems.

How do I Know if There is a Need for Therapy?

If an adult or child has any of the following postures or habits, referral for therapy to address orofacial myofunctional disorders is recommended:

Abnormal swallowing patterns

Facial grimace during swallowing

Deviate swallow

Protrusion of the tongue at rest

Recurring malocclusion after dental intervention

Mouth Breathing

Lips apart posture at rest

Oral habits such as thumb, finger or pacifier sucking

Related articulation difficulties

Why is Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy Important?

If orthodontic treatment is being considered, the untreated deviate swallow may contribute to relapse after that treatment is completed. We swallow approximately 2,000 times a day, and pressure against the teeth may make it difficult to keep the teeth straight. Therapy should begin as early as possible to assist the orthodontist during the course of dental management.

What is Involved in Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy?

After an assessment by Gail Del Grosso, Speech Pathologist, a program of exercises with assigned home practice is started. The success of Orofacial Myofunctional therapy depends on the person’s age, level of responsibility, motivation, and in the case of children, parental involvement.