As an IAOM Certified Orofacial Myofunctional Therapist specializing in orofacial myofunctional therapy (or what has been referred to as “tongue thrust therapy”) since 1977, I get asked everyday,”Does Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy really work?”
The answer is, “Absolutely!”
I think the best way to demonstrate proof of how Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy (OMT) really works is to show the long term results of Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy (OMT) through photographs of my patient’s teeth.
One example is of this female patient, age 43 years, who was referred to me in 1992 because her orthodontist was “unable to close her bite”. An Orofacial Myofunctional evaluation revealed she had an Orofacial Myofunctional Disorder (OMD) characterized by an incorrect resting posture consisting of an open mouth, low, forward resting posture of her tongue against and between her teeth and an incorrect swallowing pattern.
Since the primary cause of Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders (OMDs) are nasal airway interference, she was referred to an ENT and Allergist to resolve any airway issues prior to initiation of Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy (OMT). She was found to have allergies and once the Allergist taught her how to control her allergies, OMT was initiated.
In the After OMT photos, OMT assisted her orthodontist in aligning the teeth and jaw properly and stabilizing her bite so the orthodontic braces could be removed.
Five years after completing the OMT program in 1993, photos were taken in 1998 which show a stabilized occlusion.
In 2016, twenty-three years after completing the OMT program, more photos were taken further demonstrating how her bite has stabilized.
Achieving a correct resting posture of the tongue, lips, jaw and face is the primary goal of OMT as well as to to assist the orthodontist in achieving a stabilized orthodontic result.
NOTE: Many of you may be unfamiliar with the term Orofacial Myofunctional Disorder often abbreviated as OMD. A more common term that has been used to describe an OMD is “tongue thrust”. The term “tongue thrust”, although still commonly used today, is misleading since it implies that the tongue is forcefully pushed against the teeth during a swallow leading to a dental malocclusion. Actually, the amount of pressure exerted by the tongue against the teeth during a swallow is not sufficient to move them out of a normal position. It is well documented in dental science that a forward resting posture of the tongue against or between the teeth can, over time, result in dental changes when there is a long period (4 to 6 hours per day) of an abnormal tongue rest position. Only light, continuous pressure is needed to move teeth, whether by orthodontic appliances or a forward resting posture of the tongue. So, it’s not the swallow that moves the teeth but is the resting posture of the tongue against or between the teeth that causes malocclusions.
Dr. Honor Franklin is an IAOM Certified Orofacial Myofunctional Therapist (Certified by the International Association of Orofacial Myology) who has specialized in OMT for almost 40 years and is considered an expert in correcting Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders (OMDs).
Please review her website to learn more.