Wednesday, April 3, 2024

A Guide to Myofunctional Disorders


What are Myofunctional Disorders?


Myofunctional disorders are conditions that affect the muscles and functions of the face impacting how an individual breathes, swallows and speaks. They can be caused by thumb sucking, tethered oral tissue, or just the way the shape of the face developed.


What are myofunctional red flags?

  • Open mouth posture

  • Slow/picky eating

  • Teeth grinding

  • Thumb sucking

  • Snoring

  • Sleep difficulties

  • Bags under eye

  • Speech difficulties

  • Misalignment of teeth

  • Jaw pain

  • Coughing/choking

  • Noisy/messy eating

Other red flags exist, please speak to your provider about other signs/symptoms you or your child may be experiencing.

Who is a candidate for myofunctional therapy?

Myofunctional therapy is suitable for a wide range of individuals starting from around age 4 and extending to adults. A therapist is still able to work with children under the age of 4, though it may look a little different. The therapist uses feeding techniques that are rooted in myofunctional techniques.

What can I expect during therapy?

The goals of myofunctional therapy are to improve oral muscle function and habits across the lifespan. It aims to correct muscle imbalances, compensatory movements, promote proper swallowing and nasal breathing. Therapy consists of teaching the smaller steps to break down the process of oral range of motion until it becomes a rote generalized movement.

What can impact treatment?

The progress of myofunctional therapy can be impacted in a variety of ways. Your clinician is committed to communicating any observed barriers and possible solutions including:

  • Upper airway resistance

    • Enlarged tonsils/adenoids

    • Nasal congestion

  • Difficulty following home program

  • Current orthodontic treatment

What are oral tethered issues?

Sometimes a myofunctional evaluation reveals tethered oral tissues (TOTs). TOTs are connective tissues in the lips, tongue and/or cheeks restricting the full oral range of motion for feeding and/or speech. After an evaluation, TOTs should be released if they are having a functional impact. 

At Building Blocks we strongly recommend pre and post-op therapy when treating TOTs. This aids in:

  • Decreasing the risk of scarring following release.

  • Decreasing the risk of re-attachment.

  • Overall improvement in functional skills for feeding and speech.

At Building Blocks Therapy Services, our therapists are trained in myofunctional therapy approaches to support your child’s feeding and swallowing. If you have questions about myofunctional therapy please visit www.buildingblocksgr.com or call (616) 570-925.


A Guide to Myofunctional Disorders

What are Myofunctional Disorders? Myofunctional disorders are conditions that affect the muscles and functions of the face impacting how an ...