Frequently Asked Questions
What is orofacial myology?
Orofacial Myology is a learning model that teaches orofacial neuromuscular exercises with the objective of improving healthy muscle tonicity including:
- Functional activities of the tongue, lips, and mandible to facilitate normal, stable, growth and development.
- Recognizing parafunctional habits with the objective of eliminating dysfunctional oral behavior patterns: temporomandibular muscle issues (bruxism, clenching, range of motion, postural tongue habits of lips and or mandible).
What are the goals of the therapist?
1. To assist in the creation, re-establishment or stabilization of a normal oral environment with regard to lingual and labial posturing.
2. Teaching clients how to restore healthy function facilitating normal processes of growth and development to occur.
3. To create, re-establish, or stabilize appropriate healthy postural and functional or orofacial muscle patterns.
4. A team approach in conjunction with primary care providers in dentistry or medicine to determine client learning goals, strategies, and objectives.
What habits does orofacial myology address?
- Orofacial myologists evaluate and teach clients as they unlearn orofacial dysfunctions or anomalies including:
- Abnormal, non-nutritive sucking habits (thumb, finger, pacifier, blanket, etc...)
- Additional detrimental habits (nail biting, clothes and object chewing, trichotillomania)
- Unhealthy orofacial resting posture
- neuromuscular patterns associated with bolus formation, deglutition, and mastication
- dysfunctional breathing habits
- dysfunctional swallowing patterns
- Suboptimal speech habits
- Tongue/Lip rest postures
The goal of Orofacial myofunctional education is to assist in the learning of healthy restoration and maintenance of a normal and harmonious muscular environment.
How do I know I need to see an orofacial myologist?
Any of the following may be an indicator:
- Mouth posture open, mandible dropped
- Lack of muscle tone in the lips and face
- Tight upper lip, large lower lip
- Open bite
- Chapped lips – lip licking
- Lower lip wedged under upper teeth
- Pursing of lips for swallowing
- Lack of molar contact
- Mouth breathing
- Nail biting
- Short lingual frenulum
When should I see an orofacial myologist?
As soon as possible. We will do the initial exam and assessment and provider appropriate referrals and create the care team you need to resolve your concerns.
Does insurance cover orofacial myology?
We will provide you with a superbill upon request. You may submit this to your insurance plan for reimbursement. If your deductible has been met, you have a good chance of receiving coverage.
What happens at an initial consultation?
The practice of orofacial myology includes evaluation and habit modification for:
- Dysfunctional orofacial habits (thumb and finger sucking, nail biting, snoring, mild sleep apnea, mouth breathing, and trichotillomania)
- Posturing problems related to the lips, tongue, jaw, body, and respiratory system
- Abnormal neuromuscular responses associated with inappropriate mastication and deglutition
- Dysfunctional breathing habits
- Hyper and hypo sensitivity of the orofacial complex
- Swallowing patterns which may be associated with malocclusions
- Facial and postural esthetics
How Popular is Orofacial myology?
As an emerging discipline, there are only 300 Orofacial Myologists in the USA. The practice of orofacial myology has its roots in speech therapy and began in the mid-1900s.
- Orofacial myology is growing and evolving as a professional service.
- A 1993 survey of speech pathologists revealed that 34% had no exposure to myofunctional disorders
- 63% had no practicum experience
- 87% felt instruction of orofacial myology was ‘inadequate’.
How can posture be affected by poor oral habits?
The most common postural dysfunction relating to dental health is forward head posture. In a forward head posture it is common to find posterior rotation of the cranium, reversal of the cervical lordosis, or protracted scapulae, increased thoracic kyphosis and decreased lumbar lordosis.
Children and adult mouth breathers unconsciously this posture to increase their airway space. As many as seventy percent (70%) of those exhibiting forward head posture will also exhibit a Class II Occlusion. Some of the symptoms found as a result of this posture are: facial pain, fatigue and spasm of the facial musculature, headaches (sub-occipital or cranio-facial). neck pain, arm pain and in some advanced cases.
I've been in speech therapy but how do I know I need more?
Do you have any of these issues?
- Inter-dentalized articulation (L, S, Z, SH, CH, J).
- Mandibular thrust (S, Z, SH, CH, J).
- Hyper or hypo-nasality.
Education consists of exercising facial and tongue muscles to achieve correct tongue position for swallowing with the molars closed and a correct tongue rest posture.
The re-education is similar for all myofunctional clients, thumb or digit- suckers, denture clients, snorers, TMJ disorders and Trichotillomania clients, in that repositioning of the tongue and the strengthening of facial and neck muscles is essential for them all.
Your office is located far away. How else can I work with you?
We do many video consultations and appointments with our clients. Whether you never come to our office or will be traveling and cannot make an appointment, we can serve you online via video. Supplies needed for therapy will be mailed to you.
What ages do you work with?
All ages! From one day old to 100+ years old. We started our work with infants and have received extensive training in working with older children and adults.