My patient, Gerald, age 52 years old, sent me this selfie photo when his orthodontic braces were removed. Look at that happy smile!
“Is Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy (OMT) or Tongue Thrust Therapy just for Kids?”
I get asked this question everyday and the answer is, “Absolutely Not!”
The oldest patient I have seen for orofacial myofunctional therapy (OMT) has been 76 years of age!
OMT was initiated on this patient in 2013, when he was 49 years old and he graduated from OMT when he was 52 years old.
Gerald was initially referred to me by his orthodontist, Dr. Cliff Alexander of Preston Hollow Orthodontics in 2007 when he was 43 years old. He was diagnosed as being an orthodontic surgical case and Gerald decided to postpone treatment because he did not want surgery.
Below are his photos taken in 2007.
In 2013, Gerald was referred back to me by Dr. Alexander when he was 49 years old and although he initially had been diagnosed as an orthodontic surgical case, the orthodontist thought he could correct his occlusion orthodontically with Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy (OMT) without jaw surgery.
An Orofacial Myofunctional evaluation revealed an Orofacial Myofunctional Disorder (OMD) characterized by a chronic open mouth, low, forward resting posture of his tongue against and between his teeth resulting in a dental openbite and overjet.
You will notice his incorrect rest posture changed very little from his initial evaluation in 2007. He still presented with an incorrect rest posture of his tongue and lips as seen in the photos below.
Since the primary cause of OMDs are nasal airway problems, he was referred to the ENT and Allergist on my team. The ENT evaluation revealed no nasal structural obstruction but the Allergist’s evaluation revealed he had Perennial Allergic Rhinitis. Once the Allergist had taught him how to control his allergies, OMT was initiated.
The first set of photos below were taken in 2013 at his evaluation.
Below, the second set of photos were taken in June 2014 when orthodontic treatment was initiated.
Below, the third set of photos were taken in November 2014 and demonstrate his progress.
Below, the fourth set of photos were taken in 2016 when he completed Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy (OMT) and orthodontic treatment.
Like any other exercise based treatment program, it’s effective for patients of almost any age but I have found success is dependent upon two main ingredients:
- The patient must be able to achieve a patent nasal airway on a consistent basis via an ENT and Allergist evaluation. (I am fortunate to have an ENT and Allergist on my team who understands Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders and Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy and they are experts at helping my patients achieve a patent nasal airway consistently).
- Patient compliance is imperative. There is no “magic wand”. I do not do anything to you – YOU do the work! Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy (OMT) works specifically on strengthening muscles and creating new habits.
I will teach you exercises in orofacial myofunctional therapy and you will go home and master them by practicing them three times a day.
Why three times a day?
In Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy, we are dealing with habit and reduced muscle strength. We are training muscles and some of these muscles you have never used before. Muscles don’t have a memory unless you use them. Most of my patient’s muscles are weak and they have habits that are harmful but are strongly ingrained. Repetition strengthens muscles and repetition makes a habit. My goal is to get my patients in and out of therapy as soon as possible so they can go on with their lives and I have found by them practicing their homework exercises 3x a day, we are able to achieve this goal!
Progress in therapy is gradual ~ again, no “magic wand”, ~ but you will see progress if you are compliant in practicing your homework exercises as prescribed and if you follow the allergist and ENT recommendations.
Throughout therapy, photographs and measurements are taken so you can see your progress.
Great Job, Gerald!
NOTE: OMT does not take the place of orthodontic treatment or jaw surgery. The goal of OMT is to support the orthodontic treatment and surgery. Restoring a normal resting posture of the tongue and lips and eliminating an incorrect swallowing pattern can assist the orthodontist in aligning the teeth and jaw properly and assist in stabilization of the teeth during or after orthodontic treatment and/or jaw surgery.
Dr. Honor Franklin of Honor Franklin Myofunctional and Speech Clinic is an IAOM Certified Orofacial Myofunctional Therapist and Licensed Speech-Language Pathologist who has specialized in the treatment of OMDs for almost 40 years. She is the ONLY IAOM Certified Orofacial Myofunctional Therapist in Dallas and is considered an expert in correcting OMDs.
Dr. Franklin has had extensive training and experience with orofacial myofunctional disorders (OMDs) and articulation (speech) disorders and is considered an expert in these fields. She welcomes referrals from Orthodontists, Pediatric Dentists, Maxillofacial Surgeons, Dentists, Pediatricians, Internists, and Speech Language Pathologists.
Call today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Honor Franklin at Honor Franklin Myofunctional & Speech Clinic 972-233-1312
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