What is Myofunctional Disorder (MFD) or an orofacial myofunctional disorder (OMD)?
It is when there is an abnormal lip, jaw, or tongue position during rest, swallowing or speech. You may also see this when there are prolonged oral habits, like thumb or finger sucking. The cause is usually from some upper airway obstruction.
Who can treat for MFD/OMD?
A dental hygienist or speech-language pathologist that has been trained in MFT (Myofunctional Therapy) Not all therapists or dental hygienist are trained.
“Correct swallowing depends on a proper relationship between muscles of the face, mouth and throat. The act of swallowing is one function that depends on the body’s vital balance. To swallow properly, muscles and nerves in the tongue, cheeks and throat must work together in harmony. When a person swallows normally, the tip of the tongue presses firmly against the roof of the mouth or hard palate, located slightly behind the front teeth. The tongue acts in concert with all the other muscles involved in swallowing. The hard palate, meanwhile, absorbs the force created by the tongue.” – Academy of Oral facial myofunctional therapy
Some signs of an OMD may include the following:
- Someone who always breathes through the mouth or has difficulty breathing through the nose.
- Limited tongue movement.
- Eating may be messy or difficult. Keep in mind that it is normal for babies to stick their tongue out and push food out of their mouth. Over time, they do this less.
- An overbite, underbite, and/or other dental problems.
- The tongue pushing past the teeth, even when a person is not talking or using the tongue.
- Difficulty saying some sounds, like “s” in “sun,” “sh” in “ship,” or “j” in “jump.”
- Drooling, especially beyond age 2.
- Difficulty closing the lips to swallow.