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, Orofacial Myology: From Basics to Habituation).
*oro = mouth, facial = face, myo = muscle Orofacial myology is a specialized professional discipline that evaluates and treats a variety of oral and facial (orofacial) muscles, (myo-) postural and functional disorders and oral habits that may disrupt normal dental development and also create cosmetic problems.
A Speech-Language Pathologist assesses the structures and the way the lip, cheeks, teeth, jaws and tongue move. This is done by watching the child/adult speak, control secretions, looking at mouth posture and movements, breathing and also watching how he/she swallows foods and liquids. A primary goal of orofacial myofunctional therapy is to create, recapture or stabilize a normal resting relationship between the tongue, lips, teeth, and jaw. Achieving a lips-together rest posture is another goal of orofacial myofunctional therapy.
A Tongue Thrust Swallow may be retained due to:
• Thumb or finger sucking
• Sucking clothing or hair
• Mouthing objects (for adults this may be chewing pens)
• Nail biting or chewing lips and cheeks
• Large tonsils or adenoids
• Allergies and nasal congestion
• Tongue tie (restrictive lingual frenum)
• Early loss of teeth
• Sensory processing difficulties
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