Symptoms of orofacial myofunctional disorders
Dental Problems related to an OMD
When a person swallows incorrectly, the tip and/or sides of the tongue press against or spread between the teeth. This is commonly called a tongue thrust. Constant pressure from resting or incorrectly thrusting the tongue away from the hard palate may push teeth out of place. That pressure may later prevent teeth from erupting (breaking through the gum).
An OMD may lead to an abnormal bite – the improper alignment between the upper and lower teeth known as malocclusion. This problem may lead to difficulties in biting, chewing, swallowing, and digesting of food.
Tongue thrust is the act of pushing the tongue against or between the teeth when swallowing.
The constant pressure of the tongue against or between the teeth will not allow the teeth to bite together. This is known as an open bite.
An improper alignment or malocclusion between the upper and lower teeth can lead to difficulties in biting and chewing food.
Cosmetic Problems related to an OMD
Often the most obvious symptom of incorrect oral posture involves the muscles of the face. A dull, sluggish appearance and full, weak lips develop when muscles aren’t operating normally.
Constantly parted lips (with or without mouth breathing) also signal this disorder. A person swallowing incorrectly will often purse and tighten the muscles of the cheeks, chin and lips – a symptom known as a facial grimace. This can give the chin a knobby appearance because these muscles are being overused.
The face can have a dull sluggish appearance when the muscles are not in proper balance.
An incorrect swallow will purse and tighten the muscles of the cheeks, chin, and lips, causing a facial grimace
Mouth breathing or constantly open lips is a cause and/or signal of tongue thrust and low tongue rest posture.
Sleep Disordered Breathing and Mild to Moderate OSA
Recent research has shown that an Orofacial Myology program may reduce the symptoms of sleep disordered breathing (such as snoring), and ameliorate mild to moderate OSA (obstructive sleep apnea). When functioning and used properly, the muscles of the tongue, throat, and face, can reduce obstruction to the airway.
Speech Problems that may develop from an OMD
A person with abnormal oral muscle patterns may suffer a lisp or have difficulty in articulating sounds. If muscles in the tongue and lips are incorrectly postured, this can prevent a person from forming sounds of normal speech.
Improper oral muscle function may additionally lead to TMJ dysfunction, headaches, stomach distress (from swallowing air), airway obstruction, and other health challenges.