Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders 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.
Examples of Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders include one or a combination of the following:
- Thumb and finger sucking habits, pacifier sucking, nail biting
- A routine habit of resting with the lips apart
- A forward resting posture of the tongue between or against the teeth
- Tongue thrust
- Abnormal swallowing patterns
- Abnormal functional breathing patterns
Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders are often related to or can contribute to a variety of medical and dental disorders. These disorders can include:
- Malocclusion (improper alignment of the teeth)
- Periodontal disorders
- Orthodontic relapse
- Changes associated with abnormal jaw growth and position
What are some of the causes of Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders?
It is often difficult to isolate a particular source as the sole cause of an Orofacial Myofunctional Disorder and in most cases, it can be result of a combination of factors. Many experts suggest that OMDs may develop as a result from the following:
- A restricted nasal airway due to enlarged tonsils/adenoids, deviated septum, and/or allergies.
- Improper oral habits such as thumb or finger sucking, cheek/nail/cuticle biting, teeth clenching/grinding, and tongue, lip or cheek sucking
- Extended use of a pacifier and/or long-term use of sippy cups
- Structural or physiological abnormalities which may include a short lingual frenum (tongue-tie)
- Neurological deficits and developmental delays
- Hereditary predisposition
You can learn more about Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders here.