Orofacial Myology, or Orofacial myofunctional therapy, is a form of assessment and therapy that aims to optimise the muscular function of the mouth, tongue and facial muscles. As a therapy, it works in marvellously as an adjunct to the usual skills and treatment provided by your Osteopath. In Osteopathy, we consider function and how it relates to the structure of the human body as a whole. In Orofacial Myology, the muscular function of the mouth and face is considered more specifically.
Goals of Orofacial Myology
- Breathing through the nose, with the mouth closed, lips sealed
- Encourage resting tongue posture on the roof of the mouth
- Correct chewing and swallowing function
- Eliminating oral habits, such as finger or thumb sucking
How is this achieved?
After a thorough screening and assessment, exercises are prescribed to address any weaknesses or dysfunction in the individual, keeping in mind the general goals of orofacial myology.
So why consider seeing an Orofacial Myologist?
In Australia, Orofacial Myologists have completed a minimum 28 hour course and are already a health provider – many are dentists, dental hygienists, speech pathologists or, like myself, an Osteopath.
Children and adults may seek an orofacial myology opinion, for varied reasons.
Often adults with present with jaw pain, headache, bruxism (grinding teeth), clenching teeth, dental concerns, or what is known as Sleep Disordered Breathing – that is, snoring, sleep apnoea etc.
Parents seek an opinion for their children for the same reasons as adults, plus speech issues, sleep or behaviour concerns, postural concerns, thumb or finger sucking, excessive saliva or difficulty with saliva control, food texture complaints, tongue tie assessment, plus more.
I also see many patients (adult and children) that come to our clinic for pre- and post- care for tongue and lip tie releases. In this case the reasoning is similar to when you have to have surgery, for example a knee replacement. Then, you see an Osteopath or other professional to manage rehabilitation and prehabilitation in order to optimise the outcome of the surgery. You do exercises to strengthen the muscles and increase the function of the joint. Orofacial myology (and osteopathy) do the same for the mouth and tongue in the case of frenectomy/tie release.
In Part 2, you will learn more about resting tongue posture and the benefit of the combination of Osteopathy and Orofacial Myology combined!