Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy
for ages 6+
Lips Naturally Closed
(At rest and while asleep)
Tongue Resting Fully
on the Palate
(tip, middle, and back)
Nasal Breathing Preference
(day, night, & during
(tongue compresses upward, no facial movement, back of tongue pumps against soft palate)
If you cannot easily maintain the above you
may be at risk to develop:
narrow jaws & airway
tooth wear & grinding
sleep disorderd breathing
poor ENT health
chronic pain & fatigue
Orofacial Myology is the practice of identifying dysfunctions in the orofacial complex,
the muscles of the tongue, lips, cheeks and throat.
When these muscles are not functioning properly they lead to compensatory movements and contribute to airway and breathing issues, gum disease, early tooth loss and breakdown, relapse of orthodontic treatment and much more. Early detection of tethered oral tissues (TOTs or "tongue ties") can aid in the prevention and development of orofacial myofunctional disorders (OMD's).
There are three phases of education:
*Intensive - Weekly Visits (about 6-12 visits)
This phase preps you for a "Tongue Tie Release" and provides post rehabilitation
*Generalization - Biweekly Visits (about 4 visits)
This phase helps incorporate the new things you learn into everyday activities
*Habituation- Monthly or Bimonthly Visits (about 4-6 visits)
This phase ensures that your new habits become unconscious and automatic
Airway-Focused Health Targets STRUCTURE, FUNCTION and BEHAVIOR
Orofacial Myofunctional Exercises provide neuromuscular re-education to promote better FUNCTION.
That means we are restoring normal muscle patterns through exercises that create movement, balance, coordination, kinesthetic sense and proprioception. Proper tongue resting posture supports good function of the facial muscles, an open airway, a healthy jaw and good body posture.
Recent studies have shown that OM can provide support for individuals with temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD), sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
, This is neuromuscular re-education.
We are rewiring your brain and retraining muscle patterns
This is a "slow and steady wins the race" kind of game. No quick fixes here!
The ideal student is someone who is motivated and ready to be involved in improving their health.
Exercises are prescribed and intended to be completed 3 times per day
I show you 20% of the work, you’re going to do 80% of the work
For GREAT results – do them three times per day
For good results – do them two times per day
For some results – do them once per day*
*and remember treatment will move much slower
While OM aims to address function, there still may be a need to treat the structure of the airway. That involves seeing an airway-focused dentist or orthodontist to make recommendations for the best way to widen your upper and lower jaw to create a larger airway space. Identification of TOT's (Tethered Oral Tissues or "Tongue Tie") will also require referral to a provider who can perform a functional release of the restricted tissues. Sleep Physicians are integral in the diagnosis and treatment of sleep disordered breathing conditions such as sleep apnea. Speech Language Pathologists may be required if dysphagia (a life threatening swallowing dysfunction) is present. Osteopaths, Craniosacral Therapists, and Bodyworkers play an integral role in restoring posture and releasing tension in the body.
The Goal of Airway-Focused Orthodontics
Treatment aims to help the jaws grow wide and forward. Permanent teeth are rarely removed or altered to create room in the dental arch. Treatment begins as early as possible in life to prevent crowding and avoid smaller arch development. Many early interventions strategies are available, such as: Tongue release at birth if feeding issues are present, appliances to promote growth can be worn as early as age 3 or 4, orofacial myofunctional exercises can train the muscles properly and eliminate oral habits.
Long gone are the days of waiting until all the permanent teeth erupt to start treatment. That is often too late and we may have missed the opportunity to avoid more invasive options. Aesthetics are the last thought.
The first priority is to promote the growth and development of broad arches to support healthy and effortless breathing. Please, ask your dental provider if they are creating your treatment plan from an airway-focused perspective and if they have been trained in airway-focused dentistry.
Some noteworthy training institutions are:
The Airway Collaborative
The Breathe Institute
Airway Health Solutions
Tongue Tie Academy
Academy or Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy
International Association of Orofacial Myology
Breathe Colorado accepts students from ages 10 and up. OM exercises bring the kid out in everyone. You will make funny faces and popping noises with your lips and tongue and use various props to enhance strength and coordination.
Silliness, laughter and smiles are required!