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Orofacial Myology – Falls Church Office Only

Orofacial myology is the study and treatment of oral and facial muscles as they relate to speech, dentition, chewing/bolus collection, swallowing, and overall mental and physical health. (Sandra Holtzman, MS, CCC/SLP, COM)

What are Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders (OMD)’s?

orofacial myology falls church speech therapyOrofacial Myofunctional Disorders (OMD’s) are atypical adaptive patterns that emerge in the absence of normalized patterns within the orofacial complex. The regular presence of these adaptive movements can often result in a variety of disturbances. (International Association of Orofacial Myology-IAOM)

What are the causes of OMD’s?

  • Upper airway/nasal obstruction (enlarged tonsils/adenoids and/or allergies)
  • Extended pacifier use or thumb sucking
  • Prolonged bottle use
  • Other harmful oral habits such as sucking on clothes, tongue and/or cheeks, nail biting
  • Restricted lingual frenum
habitual open mouth resting posture

Habitual open-mouth resting posture with tongue low and forward in the oral cavity.

initial stages of closure with facial tension

Initial stages of closure with facial tension evident (2-3 months into therapy).

relaxed closed mouth resting posture

What are the symptoms of underlying myofunctional disorders?

  • Speech sound errors
  • Persistent open mouth posture
  • Tongue resting low and forward in the oral cavity, sometimes protruding through the anterior incisors
  • Dental malocclusions including, underbite, open bite and overjet
  • Tongue thrust: when the tongue pushes against or between the teeth during speech or swallowing

What is the evaluation process for orofacial myofunctional disorders?

The orofacial myofunctional evaluation includes assessment of the oral structures and how they are used during speech and non-speech activities such as chewing and swallowing. Part of the evaluation may include a referral to an allergy doctor, an ENT specialist and/or an orthodontist.

What is orofacial myofunctional therapy?

  • Orofacial myofunctional therapy incorporates facial and lingual (tongue) exercises and behavior modification techniques to promote an adequate resting posture, which includes the correct placement of the jaw, teeth, tongue and lips at rest.
  • Techniques used to engage the correct facial and lingual movement patterns necessary for adequate chewing and swallowing in order to eliminate a tongue thrust or reverse swallow pattern.
  • Helps to reduce and eliminate noxious oral habits such as thumb sucking, pacifier, finger sucking, nail biting, cheek biting,
  • Work with dentists and orthodontists to assist in successful orthodontic treatment.

Each child’s treatment program is different and focuses on:

  • Tongue and facial resting postures
  • Swallowing
  • Speech articulation

Children often need help and encouragement from their family to practice their treatment exercises. You will see the best results when the family works with their child every day.

How can I make an appointment?

If you have concerns regarding your child’s speech as it relates to chewing/bolus collection and swallowing, please contact Jenifer Midili, Clinical Director – Falls Church, at: or (703) 685-1070, Mailbox 2.  Or, click here to complete/send our Falls Church contact form.