Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders

Lake Forest, Lake Bluff, and Lincolnshire

Orofacial myofunctional disorders (OMDs) affect millions of adults and children alike. Left untreated, OMDs can lead to life long health risks, and dental abnormalities. Often times, the issue can be corrected with the right treatment. Neuromuscular dentists in Lake Forest, such as Drs. Douglas Campbell and David Schmidt, offer non-invasive ways to correct OMDs in children and adults.
Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders

What are OMDs?

Orofacial myofunctional disorders occur when the lips, tongue, or jaw have an abnormal posture when resting or while speaking or eating.

Common OMDs include:
  • Tongue thrust
  • Lips
  • Open mouth posture
  • Mouth breathing
  • Limited tongue movement
  • Drooling past age 2
  • Difficulty swallowing (gags easily, is a picky eater)
  • Shows food when eating, or is a messy eater

What causes OMDs?

Orofacial myofunctional disorders may develop from a variety of causes. Sometimes, an untreated tongue-tie (forms during fetal development, and is present at birth), restricts the tongue’s movement, which causes open mouth posture, and mouth breathing. In some instances, prolonged thumb or pacifier sucking creates a narrow dental palate and airway. Untreated tongue-ties also result in an infant’s inability to latch to the mother’s breast.

What are the signs and symptoms of OMDs?

Dental abnormalities, such as an overjet or open bite, narrow upper dental arch, mouth breathing, snoring, sleep apnea, and lip impotence, are common signs of OMDs. Routine dental visits to our Lake Forest family dentist office include airway and bite alignment assessments that help identify OMDs. Drs. Douglas Campbell and David Schmidt also pay close attention to how your child breathes, tongue and mouth posture, and jaw development. If caught early, OMDs can be treated easily, although adults may benefit from OMD treatment as well.

What is the treatment for OMDs?

Treatment focuses on training the oral muscles, including the tongue, to rest and function properly. Proper swallowing and breathing techniques, as well as speech, often are the main focus of treating OMDs. At Lake Forest Smiles, we offer myofunctional therapy to help treat OMDs. Myofunctional therapy is essentially like physical therapy for the mouth and tongue. It trains the muscles to function properly. A certified myofunctional therapist is licensed to prescribe these oral exercises and monitor the patient’s progress. Myofunctional therapy often is recommended following a tongue-tie release. Tongue-ties can be treated by releasing the restrictive tissue using a dental laser. This procedure is known as a frenectomy.

Dangers of an Untreated OMD

Ignoring an OMD could be detrimental to one’s health. Untreated OMDs may lead to:
  • Sleep apnea
  • Snoring
  • TMJ disorder
  • Underdeveloped jaw
  • Crooked teeth
  • Orthodontic relapse
  • Reduced self-confidence

Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders Treatment in Lake Forest, Lake Bluff, and Lincolnshire

Many people have untreated OMDs and never realize it. Having an OMD does not necessarily feel a certain way because the body adapts, although not in the healthiest way. If you are concerned that your child might have an OMD or want to explore treatment options, please call (847) 234-4800 to schedule a consultation. Drs. Campbell and Schmidt have provided elite dental care to the communities of Lake Forest, Lake Bluff, and Lincolnshire for more than 30 years. We welcome you to our practice.

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