(708) 383-0330

Our mouths are intricate systems that rely upon muscles, joints, bones, and other tissues for optimal performance. So, if you are experiencing oral pain or dysfunction, then comprehensive family dentistry services (like orofacial myofunctional therapy) can help.

Don’t let oral dysfunction keep you from smiling, speaking, and eating with complete confidence. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Thomas W. Wegner at Town & Country Dental in Oak Park, IL, to discuss orofacial myofunctional therapy. Whether new or existing, all patients can reach our friendly team online here or at (708) 383-0330.

If you’re curious about orofacial myofunctional therapy, then keep reading. In this post, we explain what this type of therapy is, and why you might need it.

What are orofacial myofunctional disorders?

Orofacial myofunctional disorders (OMDs) are behaviors or patterns that interfere with the typical development, growth, or function of orofacial structures, like the teeth, tongue, or jaws. 

Types of habits or behaviors that may lead to myofunctional disorders include:

  • Persistent finger or thumb sucking
  • Resting with the lips apart
  • Mouth breathing 
  • Resting the tongue against or between the teeth when not in use
  • Tongue thrusting when swallowing

These habits and behaviors can affect the appearance and performance of the oral cavity, including:

  • Improper dental alignment
  • Periodontal disorders and diseases
  • Abnormal jaw growth and mobility

What causes OMDs?

There may be many reasons why patients develop OMDs, including:

  • Genetic predisposition to myofunctional issues
  • Developmental delays
  • Neurological deficits 
  • Anatomical or physiological anomalies (like a short lingual frenulum)
  • Prolonged use of pacifiers and/or sippy cups
  • Restricted airways
  • Damaging behaviors, like fingernail chewing and jaw clenching

What are the signs or symptoms of an OMD?

Common signs and symptoms of an OMD include:

  • Leaving the mouth open at rest
  • A short lingual frenulum (often called ‘tongue tie’)
  • Mouth breathing
  • Dental abnormalities, such as overjets, open bites, and underbites 
  • Irregular speech patterns (like lisps)
  • Non-nutritive sucking (as on thumbs and pacifiers)
  • Thrusting the tongue forward to swallow completely
  • Poor oral control and drooling, especially after two years of age 

What is orofacial myofunctional therapy?

Orofacial myofunctional therapy is a remedial type of treatment aimed at improving the strength, coordination, and positioning of oral structures. Dr. Wegner and our team accomplish this by helping patients relearn how to properly move the muscles of the mouth and throat for optimal performance. 

Other ways that we perform myofunctional therapy are by:

  • Demonstrating proper tongue placement when not in use
  • Helping patients reduce or quit thumb sucking, jaw clenching, or fingernail chewing
  • Addressing tongue thrusting when swallowing
  • Improving airflow through the nasal passage, especially while sleeping
  • Teaching orofacial exercise to strengthen weak oral, facial, and pharyngeal muscles

When should I seek myofunctional therapy?

Patients can seek myofunctional therapy in Oak Park, IL, at any time. However, it is best to remediate OMDs as soon as possible to prevent worsening conditions in the future. 

A routine dental exam can help our team determine if myofunctional therapy is right for you.

Myofunctional Therapy in Oak Park, IL

If you’re living with a bothersome OMD, then contact the team at Town & Country Dental in Oak Park, IL. We can help you get a comfortably functional smile with myofunctional remediation. Simply request an appointment online, or call (708) 383-0330 to get started.