What Are Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders?

istock 1067037434 1 “Orofacial myofunctional disorders” – it’s quite a mouthful! An orofacial myofunctional disorder, or OMD for short, is often seen in children but can occur in adults as well, and it can be quite serious.

What are OMDs?

OMDs are disorders of the muscles in the face. Such a disorder can interefere with everyday activities like eating, breathing, and talking, and some patients may have trouble swallowing.  An OMD can be caused by thumb sucking past age 3, nasal passages that are blocked because of allergies or oversized tonsils, or genetics.

A patient with OMD finds it hard to breathe through their nose, which can lead to several problems. Mouth breathing can lead to changes in how the jaw, tongue, and lips are supposed to naturally rest.  If left untreated, OMDs can lead to periodontal disorders, the improper alignment of the teeth, speech distortions, and patterns that affect healthy breathing. They can also increase the risk of temporomandibular joint disorders, which can be quite painful and lead to headaches, pain in the face, neck, and jaw, and other health problems. OMDs can also lead to problems during sleep, ranging from snoring to obstructive sleep apnea.

What is orofacial myofunctional therapy?

If you think you or a loved one might have an OMD, there are a few options available. These include orthotic devices and techniques to improve how the muscles function. The choice of treatment will depend on how serious the OMD is and what caused it; you may need more than one treatment to get the full benefit of therapy. These therapy options are painless, and you may be surprised at how different you feel when you don’t have to live with OMD anymore. With successful therapy, a patient can once again eat, speak, and breathe normally. Patients will sleep better and enjoy life more, too!

OMD can affect a person’s life, comfort level, and long-term health, but you don’t have to suffer anymore. Dr. Konig and the staff at the Konig Center for Cosmetic and Comprehensive Dentistry in Houston, Texas, have extensive experience helping patients with OMD to find relief. Call (713) 668-2289 for an appointment.

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