Orofacial Myology Therapy

Airway and Biological Dental Center

Orofacial Myology Therapy

Airway and Biological Dental Center

Orofacial Myology Therapy – Franklin, TN

Tongue Thrust Therapies for Healthy, Pain-Free Smiles

At Paige Prather Smiles, we offer a wide range of dental care solutions for patients at all ages and stages of dental development. Now, that includes orofacial myology therapy. These treatments are often referred to simply as “tongue thrust” therapies, but orofacial myology services include so much more than simply helping kids and adults learn to reposition the tongue. For many patients, orofacial myology therapy can mean the difference between a lifetime of struggles with oral and whole body health issues and the opportunity to effortlessly speak, chew, and smile with confidence. If you want to learn more about orofacial myology therapy or any of our other oral health services, call Paige Prather Smiles to schedule a consultation in our family-friendly dental office to discuss orofacial myology therapy in Franklin, TN.

What is Orofacial Myology Therapy?

Orofacial myology therapy, typically referred to simply as OMT, is treatment geared toward teaching the oral and facial structures to rest in the proper position to avoid muscle and joint strain, dental damage, breathing issues, and other conditions. Proper rest posture is described as a closed mouth, tongue resting on the palate (top of the mouth), slightly separated molars (back teeth), and nasal breathing. Any deviation from this ideal rest posture can lead to health concerns. For instance, a patient who clenches teeth together all day long rather than allowing them to remain apart may struggle with temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction due to excessive strain placed on these joints that connect the jaw to the skull bone. Patients whose tongues rest forward against the teeth or between them can exacerbate orthodontic alignment concerns like over, under, and crossbite. In the past, medical and dental professionals have focused treatment on just tackling one symptom at a time, but when the underlying cause isn’t addressed, patients are much more likely to relapse and experience further concerns. That’s where OMT comes in. These therapies address the underlying causes of the concern and help patients learn to keep a proper resting position. A number of different oral health and developmental concerns may lead to a need for OMT, including:

What are the Warning Signs?

The most obvious warning sign of OMT is tongue thrust. That’s why so many people get the idea that treating this oral health concern is the purpose of OMT. However, this is only one of many warning signs that you may need OMT. The most common symptoms that you may need OMT include:
This can be a tongue that simply rests too far forward in the mouth, as well as excessive forward tongue movement during speaking, chewing, and swallowing.
Known as bruxism, this oral health condition is a common warning sign that patients need OMT. It typically occurs during sleep, but those patients with severe bruxism may grind or clench teeth during the day as well.
May include a number of impediments to clear speech caused by the mouth and tongue being unable to form syllables properly.
Patients are often unable to fully close the mouth, which encourages mouth breathing.
Snoring and sleep apnea are also common results of patients who struggle with improper bite alignment that may lead to a need for OMT.

What Happens During OMT?

Your OMT plan may include a number of different treatments. The most important aspect of treatment is teaching our brain to notice the position of your mouth at rest. Then, each time the incorrect posture is perceived, a change is made. Additionally, patients may be instructed to perform daily stretches and jaw movement exercises to help train the jaw to rest more naturally. We may also create custom oral appliances to help maintain the ideal resting posture during sleep. In many cases, orthodontic treatments are also needed to address misaligned bite.

Jamie

Dental Hygienist |
Myofunctional Therapist

Get to Know Jamie

Dental Hygienist/Myofunctional Therapist

Jamie joined our dental office in 2021, and she has nearly 30 years of dental experience overall! She loves everything about being a hygienist—seeing people smile after a cleaning, enjoying that fresh feeling, plus she likes watching kids show off their shining teeth to mom and dad. She graduated from the Northeast Community College Dental Hygiene School and has training in laser dentistry. Jamie and her husband Jamie (yes, they have the same name!) have a son and daughter, and she likes to relax by doing crafts with friends or having a glass of wine while watching her favorite show, Chicago P.D.

Common Misconceptions About OMT

Many patients believe OMT is just therapy for patients with tongue thrust. This is not the case. The treatments will help patients with tongue thrust, but this is just a symptom of a bigger problem, so the goal of OMT is address the underlying causes of these disorders rather than simply helping patients stop thrusting their tongues while swallowing, chewing, speaking, or at rest. Additionally, many people think that only kids need to receive OMT. While the majority of patients who receive OMT are young, adults may also benefit from these treatments to improve clarity of speech, restore healthy dental function, increase the benefits of sleep apnea therapy, & more. 

Finally, many people consider OMT to be unnecessary. If a child naturally develops in a different way, why should we force them to change? In most cases, we agree with you. We want kids to be themselves! However, when patients in need of OMT don’t receive the care they need, the results can be detrimental to oral and overall health, increasing risk for orthodontic alignment issues, tooth decay, TMJ dysfunction, sleep apnea, and speech impediment among other concerns. If you or your child need OMT, let our team help you develop healthy, natural function that looks and feels great for years to come.