What are Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders?

Our face and mouth are parts of a complex system of interconnected muscles, joints, and bones that work together to allow us to show an array of facial expressions, eat, breathe, and swallow correctly. This is a finely-tuned system that depends on the proper function of each part and when there are disorders within that system, a host of problems can occur.

Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders (OMDs) are disorders of those muscles and functions that make up the face and mouth. When these become disharmonious, it can disrupt the body’s vital balance as breathing and swallowing may be severely affected. According to the Academy of Orofacial Myofuntional Therapy, most OMDs originate because of insufficient habitual nasal or oral breathing that leads to improper swallowing and tongue position.

Correct swallowing depends on this relationship of facial, mouth, and throat muscles. Improper swallowing, and the position of the tongue, can create a number of dental problems, including:

  • Malocclusion or improper alignment of upper and lower teeth
  • Difficulty in biting, chewing, swallowing
  • Open bite or when the teeth don’t bite together
  • Tongue thrust or when your tongue pushes against or between your teeth when swallowing
  • Speech problems
  • Sleep disordered breathing or mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea
  • Incorrect oral posture that results in a dull, sluggish facial appearance

As you can see, OMDs can cause a variety of problems that affect many parts of your face and mouth. Fortunately, West University dentist Dr. Heather Fleschler recently attended continuing education on myofunctional therapy at LVI Global, the prestigious dental education school located in Las Vegas, NV. With this therapy, Dr. Fleschler will be able to diagnose and treat OMDs to help those who suffer from this condition eat, speak, breathe, and sleep better.

If you believe you may be dealing with an OMD-related issue, contact the office of Dr. Heather Fleschler today at 713-660-6500 to schedule your appointment. We proudly serve those who live in West University, Bellaire, River Oaks, Meyerland, and nearby areas of Houston. We’re now accepting new patients as we’ve expanded our staff with more experienced team members so you don’t have to wait for an appointment.

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