Have you heard of orofacial myofunctional disorders? It sounds like a mouthful, but they’re more commonly knowns as OMDs. These conditions affect the muscles of the mouth (myo + oro) and can negatively affect the muscle movement patterns of the mouth and face.
These patterns develop to compensate for poor positioning of the jaw to overcome the strain on the muscles that surround the jaw and its joints. These patterns can result in poor oral habits and disturbances in oral functions such as swallowing and even breathing.
If left untreated, these adaptive patterns can cause serious consequences, including:
-Thumb sucking and finger sucking
-An oral resting posture with the lips apart
-A forward resting oral posture
-Tongue thrusting against the front teeth
-Not enough room in the jaws for the tongue, causing it to rest between the teeth
-Chewing or sucking on clothing, hair, pens, etc.
While these habits may not seem like a big deal, they can snowball into serious medical and dental conditions over time. These conditions include issues such as gum disease, breathing problems, abnormal jaw growth, and poor jaw positioning, breathing disorders, unbalanced bite issues such as underbites, overbites or crossbites. If OMDs are not addressed, they can also contribute to orthodontic relapse after braces or other orthodontic treatments.
Learn the Causes of Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders
In most cases, there is no identifiable cause of OMDs. Many patients have several things that come together to contribute to the development of these conditions. The most common factors include:
-Physiological or structural abnormalities that cause tongue ties (also known as short lingual frenum)
-Enlarged tonsils/adenoids which blow the pharyngeal airway
-Enlarged/swollen nasal turbinates
-Extended use of a pacifier or sippy cups
-Neurological deficits and developmental delays
Should You Worry About OMDs?
Orofacial myofunctional disorders are not an emergency but can be dangerous if left untreated, because they can cause lifelong and severe consequences including mouth-breathing, increased illnesses, including breathing disorders such as asthma, strep throat, throat infections, tonsilitis, chewing and swallowing problems, speech impairment, damage to jaw joints, chronic facial, head, neck and back pain. Untreated OMDs can also contribute to the development of sleep breathing disorders such as sleep apnea, bedwetting, behavioral disorders and “picky” eating/problems with food textures.
Don’t be overwhelmed by OMDs! We can help your child overcome their oral myofunctional dysfunctions. Call us now at 214-304-8485 to schedule your consultation.