Marge Foran, RDH, COM

Certified Orofacial Myofunctional Therapist

(406) 431-3441

Welcome to Montana Myofunctional Therapy

What is orofacial myology…It is the science that studies the rest posture and the function or  patterns of movement of the oral and facial muscles.  There are forty muscles involved in facial expression, mastication and swallowing.  Thirty of these muscles are important in the field of orofacial myofunctional therapy.

Orofacial myofunctional disorders (OMDs) have the potential to directly and/or  indirectly affect oral facial skeletal growth and development, chewing, swallowing, speech, dental occlusion, movement of the temporomandibular joint,  stability of orthodontic treatment, facial esthetics, and more.

The goal of therapy is to establish correct muscle movement of the tongue, lips and jaw during mastication (chewing) and the voluntary phase of deglutition (swallowing) as well as promoting proper rest posture of the tongue, lips and facial muscles, while promoting predominate nasal breathing.

What are signs or symptoms of myofunctional disorders… (these disorders may affect chewing, swallowing and/or speech)

  • the tongue rests forward against and/or between the front and/or back teeth

  • the lips often rest apart and may have a full appearance

  • messy eater, chewing with the lips open and smacking of the lips and the tongue may visibly move forward while chewing

  • the need to wash down food with a liquid and/or gulping of liquids when swallowing

  • the lips squeeze together and the chin has a tight appearance like a “golf ball” during swallowing

  • the head may “bob” forward when swallowing is complete

  • the tongue comes to meet the glass or fork/spoon

  • the tongue may be visible during speech such as lisping

How prevelant are orofacial myofunctional disorders…Research examining various populations found 38% have orofacial myofunctional disorders and, as mentioned above, an incidence of 81% has been found in children exhibiting speech/articulation problems. (Kellum, 1992, Maul, et al, 1999)

So what is a tongue thrust swallow….The tongue pushes forward and/or sideways against or in-between the teeth and there may be noticeable squeezing together of the lips like a grimace.  During a  normal swallow, the tongue pushes against the roof of the mouth (palate) with  the tip behind the upper front teeth – not between or touching the teeth.  The back teeth generally come together and the lips should be together without movement.

Watch this video created by Sarah Hornsby, RDH an orofacial myofunctional therapist, which shows many patterns of tongue thrusting…..

Tongue Thrust Video, Myofunctional Therapist

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