Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders

San Francisco, Marin, and Oakland, CA

There has been an increase in occurrences of Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders (OMDs), which is classified as disorders affecting speech, breathing, eating, swallowing, tongue thrust, and tongue-tie. While many doctors may overlook these oral concerns, your Bay Area dentists at Glen Park Dental are trained and skilled to recognize these problems and provide the necessary treatment through myofunctional therapy.

What exactly is an OMD?

An OMD is when the oral or tongue muscles are used incorrectly or in an exaggerated manner such as during speaking, swallowing, or breathing.

These oral concerns may develop from genetics or from the following:

  • Swallowing incorrectly
  • Incorrect tongue posture
  • Lip impotence (mouth is always open)
  • Mouth breathing
  • Allergies
  • Teeth grinding
  • Lip or cheek biting
  • Tongue-tie
  • Tongue thrust
  • Other incorrect usage of oral muscles or the tongue

If you are an adult and notice that you experience any of these symptoms or you notice that your child does, it is imperative to seek treatment to correct these problems. Also, since many of these concerns develop during childhood, bring your child in for an evaluation at Glen Park Dental to determine if your child has an OMD. We can customize treatment based on the severity of each case.

What can be done about OMDs?

The main focus in correcting OMDs is to retrain the oral and facial muscles, and to strengthen the weak muscles that are contributing to the problem. Your San Francisco dentists at Glen Park Dental may prescribe a course of myofunctional therapy to retrain the oral muscles to function properly. Myofunctional Therapy consists of a series of exercises and stretches of the mouth, tongue, and face to correct these negative oral behaviors.

What happens if I don’t get my OMD treated?

Many OMDs develop during childhood, and if not treated, can affect a person into adulthood. While these oral concerns may not seem like a big deal, they actually can cause oral health and health problems throughout life. Ignoring the problem will only make matters worse as the mouth and body continue to adapt to these negative oral habits.

The following may occur as a result of untreated OMDs:

  • Speech problems
  • Breathing problems
  • Sleep apnea
  • Sore teeth or tongue as a result of incorrect muscle usage
  • TMJ disorder
  • Relapse of orthodontic treatments
  • Chronic allergies
  • Periodontal issues
  • Frequent headaches
  • Unfavorable facial development
  • Misaligned teeth or buckteeth

How are OMDs identified?

The only way to know for sure if you or your child has an OMD is to receive an evaluation by the experts at Glen Park Dental. A thorough assessment, in combination with other tests, can reveal whether an OMD is present. A treatment plan consisting of myofunctional therapy may be designed to correct the problem. Even if you are an adult who has lived decades with an OMD, it can be reversed! For children, identifying these issues early in life makes treatment easier, and shorter in duration.

Myofunctional Therapy in the Bay Area

To learn more about OMDs or myofunctional therapy, please contact Glen Park Dental by calling (415) 585-1500 to schedule a consultation.

Glen Park Dental provides comprehensive, compassionate, quality oral health care for patients in the areas of Marin, Oakland, and San Francisco, California.