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Orofacial Myology

‘Orofacial’ refers to the face and mouth region while ‘myology’ is the area of medicine that’s focused on muscles and how they work. Orofacial Myology is the therapy used to achieve proper orofacial muscle function in relation to dental, speech and swallowing development.

Orofacial Myology

What is Orofacial Myology?

Orofacial Myology is a type of therapy that focuses on the muscles of the mouth and face. It helps with issues related to speech, chewing, swallowing, sleep and can impact orthodontic development. The therapy aims to improve muscle function and promote proper development in these areas for better overall oral and facial health.

Orofacial Myologists are trained in recognising problems in muscles and work with clients to overcome these by retraining the muscles to function as they should.

Orofacial Myology treats the cause, not just the symptoms. That makes it a great compliment to other treatments such as dental/orthodontic work or allied health treatment such as Speech Pathology. Orofacial myology is also an excellent standalone option that can help prevent problems from worsening over time, particularly in children.

Orofacial Myology therapy can help with:
Thumb/finger/tongue sucking
Tongue thrust swallowing
Chewing and eating
Nail biting
Mouth breathing
Jaw pain and clenching
Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMJD)
Correct tongue placement for speech and swallowing
Tongue and lip ties
Snoring, sleep disordered breathing or mild sleep apnoea
Open bite, crossbite, crowding and other orthodontic difficulties
Poor posture

Orofacial Myology at Beyond Speech

At Beyond Speech, an initial Orofacial Myology session will involve an assessment by one of our Senior Speech Pathologists, together with our Therapy Assistant, Lize Szarek. Lize has a background in dental assistance and specialist training in Orofacial Myology. The assessment will determine if ongoing therapy is required and if so, a treatment plan will be developed by the Orofacial Myology team and implemented by the Therapy Assistant.

Success of Orofacial Myology therapy is dependent on consistent, weekly attendance, and daily home practice for the duration of the therapy block. It is important to book your therapy block during a period when regular attendance and practise is possible.

Orofacial Myology - working with other professionals

The Beyond Speech Orofacial Myology (OM) Program is enhanced by our close collaboration with other professionals who can support successful client care. During our initial assessment we not only look at the client’s muscles but also dental structures and airway function.

Part of our OM Therapy focuses on lip seal and nasal breathing for correct tongue posture where the tongue is required to rest in the palate. In the case where we suspect that the client’s airway is blocked, we may refer you to an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist. An ENT can also assess if Sleep Disordered Breathing (SDB) is present.

Another factor that impacts oral function and success of therapy are Tethered Oral Tissues (TOTs) such as a tongue tie and/or a lip tie. These are part of the fascial system (connective tissue that surrounds our muscles) and runs from our tongue right down to our toes. Tight fascia can restrict the range of motion of the tongue and upper lip which can impact speech, swallowing and growth and development of the dental arch. We may refer you to a Maxillofacial Surgeon who specialises in releasing tongue and lip ties. It will be important that a number of exercises are completed before and after a release to ensure correct healing and success.

As fascial tissue (including tight oral tissues) run from your head to your toes, we will also refer you to an Osteopath who specialises in fascial release throughout the whole body to ensure the success of our program.

When the tongue rests on the floor of the mouth due to a tongue tie or open mouth posture, the palate is not supported and subsequently develops a vertical growth pattern instead of growing wide and forward. The upper arch then develops into a narrow v-shape which leads to dental crowding and lack of space for the tongue. To regain the space needed for the tongue and teeth, your clinician may refer you to a Functional Jaw Orthopaedic (FJO) Dentist with special training in airway focused orthodontics to develop the dental arch and enhance success of OM therapy by allowing space for the tongue and correct teeth crowding.

Talk to our Admin team today to book an Initial Orofacial Myology Session.

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