What is an orofacial myofunctional disorder (OMD)?

In Latin, “oro-” means “mouth/oral,” “facial” means “face,” and “myo-” means “muscle,” so an orofacial myofunctional disorder (OMD) is an inappropriate movement/function of the muscles related to the mouth and/or face. These can result in malocclusions (overjet, overbite, underbite, crossbite, open bite, etc.), temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, airway difficulties (snoring, teeth clenching/grinding), changes in facial appearance, and difficulties with eating and drinking. A very common OMD is often labelled as “tongue thrust.”

What causes orofacial myofunctional disorders?

Orofacial myofunctional disorders can be caused by sucking habits (thumb, fingers, pacifiers, bottles, sippy cups), structural abnormalities (large tonsils/adenoids, tongue tie, lip tie, high palate), chronic open mouth posture, or even neurological/developmental abnormalities.

How do you treat an orofacial myofunctional disorder (OMD)?

Orofacial myofunctional disorders (OMD) is often a team approach. We have worked closely with Dr. Ghaheri, one of the leading ENT’s in tongue and lip ties. We have also collaborated with dentists and orthodontists as appropriate. Orthodontics alone can rarely completely treat an OMD. It might change some of the symptoms, such as closing an anterior open bite. However, if the underlying cause of the anterior open bite isn’t addressed through teaching correct oral resting posture and movement for speech/swallowing, we have seen those anterior open bites with a frontal lisp, turn into a bilateral open bite and lateral lisp.