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Oral Motor and Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy

Why are oral motor skills important?

 

Oral motor skills are essential for feeding and for speech. When the muscles of the face are impacted, the mouth and face cannot function properly. These can be either from birth (congenital) or from some sort of trauma (acquired). 

 

How do you treat oral motor issues?

 

Oral motor treatment is for infants, toddlers, and young children under age 5; it focuses on early development and acquisition of oral motor skills. Our team implements hands-on sensorimotor approaches to achieve facial muscle tone and mobility for tasks such as eating, drinking, and speaking. We also provide parent/caregiver education so that family members can help their child at home. 

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What are Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders (OMDs)?

Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders (OMDs) affect older children (ages 5+), teenagers, and adults. OMDs are disorders that indicate the abnormal function of orofacial structures (tongue, lips, teeth, jaw, cheek, nasal passages). We at Gladstone Speech are trained in this specialty and provide Orofacial Myofunctional Treatment to restore oral motor growth, development, balance, and function

Signs of OMDs

There are many signs of OMDs. If you suspect that you or your child has an OMD, contact us and we can schedule an evaluation.

 

Here are some signs to be aware of.

 

Oral habits (Thumb/finger sucking, prolonged pacifier use)

Low forward resting tongue posture, “tongue thrust”

Tethered oral tissues (tongue tie, lip tie)

Mouth breathing

Reverse swallow when drinking and eating

Errored speech sounds

Disordered breathing and sleep apnea

Misaligned teeth or shifting teeth, even after orthodontia

Temperomandibular disorders (clenching, grinding)

Tethered Oral Tissues

In our functional assessments, we determine if there is a structural cause that is impacting oral-motor function, including identification of tethered oral tissues (commonly referred to as “tongue tie” or “lip tie”). 

 

We provide comprehensive treatment plans to improve your child’s challenges. Symptoms can vary but include: feeding challenges, reflux, difficulty latching/breastfeeding, speech sound errors, oral habits, orthodontic/dental difficulties, sleep-disordered breathing, temporomandibular disorders, and oral habits such as thumb sucking. 

 

We collaborate with the right professionals to create a comprehensive treatment plan. Should your child need a tongue tie/lip tie release, we work to provide effective pre- and post-operative care.

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What Do OMDs Negatively Affect?

OMDs can have a negative effect not only on you or your child’s teeth and oral posture but on how you breathe and eat as well.

  • Orofacial growth and development

  • Airway competency

  • Chewing and swallowing

  • Articulation and speech intelligibility

  • Efficiency of orthodontic treatment

  • Adequate sleep

  • Oral hygiene

 

  • Proper posture

What Do OMDs Negatively Affect?

OMDs can have a negative effect not only on you or your child’s teeth and oral posture but on how you breathe and eat as well.

  • Establishing correct resting tongue and facial posture

  • Eliminating oral habits

  • Establishing nasal breathing

  • Learning to chew and swallow correctly

  • Correcting speech sound errors

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How to Treat OMDs

Depending on the client’s goals, Orofacial Myofunctional Treatment may include:

  • Establishing correct resting tongue and facial posture
     

  • Eliminating oral habits 
     

  • Establishing nasal breathing
     

  • Learning to chew and swallow correctly
     

  • Correcting speech sound errors

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