What is an Orofacial Myofunctional Disorder?
An OMD is a disorder of the Orofacial muscle complex which includes the mouth, tongue, lips, and facial musculature.
OMDs can occur in adults, adolescents, and children. OMDs can result from thumb sucking habits, a mouth-breathing (open mouth) posture, or a forward tongue posture known as a "tongue thrust." An improper swallowing pattern can then develop leading to chewing difficulties and speech problems.
Other physical restrictions like tongue-ties (frenulum) contribute to improper function of the tongue.
Over time, the repeated muscle dysfunction of an OMD can often result in dental malocclusion, such as an open bite, severely worn down teeth, and can cause adverse changes in facial development. An OMD can undermine the stability of orthodontic correction, resulting in relapse. It can also cause TMJ chronic pain, headaches and strain in the neck and shoulder area. Research has shown a high incidence of speech problems, ADHD, and sleep disordered breathing such as snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea amongst individuals with OMDs.
Do I suffer from an Orofacial Myofunctional Disorder?
Check Common Symptoms Below
Jaw & Facial
Position & Breathing
Headaches, Neck &
Speech & Behavioral Problems
Benefits and Goals of Myofunctional Therapy
For a stronger immune system
Nasal breathing is our body’s natural way to filter out irritants, bacteria, and viruses. It is our first line of defense. Our immune system can be negatively affected when we choose to breathe out of our mouth instead of our nose. Myofunctional therapy can teach you proper nasal hygiene that can reduce congestion and allergy related problems. Breathing exercises and modalities are proven to lower the severity of asthma and can also be included with therapy.
For Restful Sleep
Did you know mouth breathing is the first indicator to sleep disordered breathing? Within your myofunctional therapy experience, you will learn specific lip strengthening exercises that will help reduce mouth breathing during the day and night. Open mouth posture during sleep can lead to brain fog, fatigue, and other major health problems associated with sleep apnea.
High Resting Tongue Placement
For Good Jaw Development & Straight Teeth
When the tongue sits in the correct position in your mouth, your jaw and teeth will grow to its correct functional state. Physical restrictions such as tongue-ties and low resting tongue posture can contribute to TMJ jaw pain, clenching, head, neck and shoulder pain and the wearing down of teeth. During your assessment and comprehensive evaluation, you will be screened for tight frenulum attachments and get connected to a local provider to perform your release surgery.
Functional Swallow Pattern
For Good Nutrition
Certain habits like thumb sucking or extended pacifier use can negatively lead to long-term changes in a child's cranial facial development. The maxillary jaw can narrow, thus making it harder to breathe and not allowing the tongue to sit in the ideal position to swallow functionally. If the tongue has the tendency to thrust forward during a swallow, then food may not be optimally chewed. The tongue will inadequately cleanse food debris off the teeth which can lead to dental decay and adverse sensitivity to different food textures.
Meet your Therapist
Mother- Wife- Dental Hygienist - Myofunctional Therapist - Down Syndrome Advocate
When our second child was born with the post natal diagnosis of Down Syndrome, I was not prepared for what our family's future would hold. I started frantically googling Down Syndrome statistics online while recovering in the hospital bed. A family counselor reached out to us preparing us for what seemed would be a tough road ahead. As my husband and I went through a series of mixed emotions, I couldn't help but worry about the health of our precious newborn daughter, who was being monitored at the NICU.
Looking back now, I would have to say my first experience involving myofunctional therapy began with the lactation problems my daughter had that coexisted with her medical diagnosis. I quickly learned about hypotonia (low muscle tone) and how that effected all kids and adults with Down Syndrome. Her latch was weak, her lip seal was not strong, her dysfunctional swallow pattern and tongue thrust lead to an improperly drained breast. For me, as a mom, that meant higher risk for mastitis, clogged ducts and pain. For my daughter, it meant more than just a limited supply of nutritional breast milk . The weaker her orofacial muscles remained, the risk for ear infections increase, potential speech delays become more prevalent, and sleep associated disorders could directly affect her growth and brain development. It became my mission to work on her myofunctional disorders.
The more I learned about orofacial myofunctional therapy, the more I discovered that it was not only a necessity in our special needs community, but that it is very prevalent in our general population. As a Registered Dental Hygiene graduate of Loma Linda University, I was seeing these same signs and symptoms in a high percentage of my everyday patients in private practice. I am very passionate about this field and opportunity to work with individuals of ALL abilities. I believe in this holistic approach of retraining the nueromuscular connections to our brain with the use of lip, tongue and facial exercises. It can be life changing. With my 17 years experience as a Registered Dental Hygienist and my 5 years experience in the fitness industry, I truly understand the benefit of exercise and good form in relation to the structures of our face and mouth. You can achieve optimal breathing through facial and tongue muscle harmony. Let me help you bring back normal function to your cranial facial muscles and together, we can turn that frown back upside down.
"I have had TMJ issues for years with pain. Jackie has helped strengthen my tongue and facial muscles which has helped with my chronic jaw pain! She has met with me numerous times and guided me with the right exercises to do for my specific problems. I highly recommend Jackie for your myofunctional needs!"
— Kandi N., Age 50
As your Orofacial Myofunctional Therapist, I’m committed to helping you live a better and healthier life through treating Orofacial Muscular Disorders. I will create a personalized 12-15 session program done in person, virtually or in the comfort of your home. Together, we’ll work on strengthening any facial muscle weaknesses, reducing chronic jaw joint pain, learning proper nasal hygiene, preparing existing tethered oral tissues before and after surgery and providing referrals to other specialists if deemed necessary.