Orofacial Myology

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Orofacial Myology

What is an Orofacial Myology Disorder?

An Orofacial Myology Disorder has to do with the muscle patterns of the jaw, lips, and tongue and how they affect speech production and the oral phase of swallowing. With a deep understanding of the underlying reasons for these issues, treatment can be highly effective.  Some causes of Orofacial Myology disorders are as follows:

* Oral habits such as thumb sucking, pacifier sucking, cheek sucking, lip sucking, lip licking, lip biting – more information on our oral habit elimination program
* Mouth breathing which can cause he tongue’s posture to be very low in the mouth. Nasal congestion, allergies, or obstructions such as enlarged tonsils or adenoids may contribute to this.
* Difficulty swallowing which can be a result of enlarged adenoids or tonsils, with frequent sore throats.  Difficulty with the oral preparatory phase and bolus formation and transfer of food and liquids may be due to high narrow palates, tongue ties and weak tongue muscles
* An exceptionally large tongue
* The angle of the jaw line or other hereditary factors within a family
* Being “tongue tied” – a short or restricted lingual frenum, also known as ankyloglossia, which results in reduced freedom of the tongue.  There may be a heart-shaped tip of the tongue, dimpling on the tongue when the tongue is protruded, inability to clear the cheeks or teeth of food, difficulty with breastfeeding, increased salivation, and more cavities
* Muscular, neurological or other physiological abnormalities
* Some artificial nipples used for feeding infants

Treatment is highly effective with sincere commitment and cooperation of the child and parent, barring neuromuscular involvement.  Treatment is focused on finding the cause of the dysfunction, and on the proper resting posture of the tongue.

Shira Kirsh, MS, CCC-SLP, COM is a Certified Orofacial My0logist, certified by the International Association of Orofacial Myology (IAOM).