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Mother and Daughter

The Fundamental Guide to Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy


Myofunctional therapy is a customized program of tongue and face related exercises that correct abnormal muscle movement patterns in the face, mouth, tongue and throat. These abnormal patterns are called Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders (OMD) and can lead to improper breathing, chewing, speaking, swallowing, and can cause weak jaw and facial appearances. Through Myofunctional therapy, improvements will occur by learning proper muscle function, strengthening weak muscles, and making behavior modifications by ensuring:

  • Proper breathing through your nose at all times (awake and asleep)

  • Correct position of the tongue while resting

  • Correct chewing and swallowing pattern

  • Proper lip seal when resting (mouth closed)

  • Strengthening of oral and facial muscles

  • Good head and neck posture

  • Eliminating harmful habits such as thumb sucking, mouth breathing, and tongue thrust.



Untreated OMD’s (orofacial myofunctional disorders) can result in a facial structure like the following:

Myofunctional therapy can lead to visible improvement in the facial structure in as little as 9-12 months:
  1. It is collaborative: While myofunctional therapy is an effective treatment for lots of eating, breathing, and sleeping issues, it hardly ever is the only treatment used. A team of people -  ENT, body workers (osteopath, massage therapist, chiropractor and physiotherapist) and dental professionals - often will work together to accomplish your health goals. Often your myofunctional therapist will refer you to other professionals to achieve better posture and breathing goals.

  2. It greatly improves your appearance: Coordinating and strengthening proper face and mouth muscle movements will improve your facial appearance. Changes are gradual but effective, your cheeks become more youthful and firm, you develop stronger lips, a wider palate, a stronger jawline, and it improves your posture. To compare the progress, before and after pictures will be taken.

  3. It requires dedication: Myofunctional therapy is like having a personal trainer  for your orofacial muscles (all the muscles below your eyes and above your shoulders). In order to strengthen and coordinate these muscles, you must practice the exercises and activities provided by your myofunctional therapist on a regular basis, until correct muscle patterns are established. It involves more than the time you have spent with your myofunctional therapist twice a month; it requires daily  commitment.



If you say yes to any of the questions below, you may have an Orofacial Myofunctional Disorder (OMD)!

Do you have?
  • An incorrect placement of the tongue while resting (e.g. pushing the tongue against or between the teeth or resting down on the floor of the mouth) causing  crowding or spacing of the teeth, narrow face, droopy eyes, smaller jaw development and narrow palate?

  • A tongue tie or lip tie?

  • Mouth breathing and open mouth rest posture (lips apart at rest)?

  • Difficulty keeping the mouth closed when chewing, messy or noisy eating and trouble with swallowing food?

  • Chronic headaches, teeth grinding or clenching and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)?

  • Speech problems and orthodontic relapse?

  • Harmful oral habits like thumb/finger sucking, nail and/or lip biting?




We start with a 1-hour comprehensive orthodontic and myofunctional assessment, a  panoramic x-ray, photos of your face and teeth, and a 3D scan of the teeth to evaluate your bite. In 1-2 weeks, you will receive a customized diagnostic summary which reviews the findings, an outline of the proposed treatment, length of the treatment and the cost. Every session is 30 minutes, twice a month, which you can either attend in the office or do virtually from the comfort of your home.





Tongue-tie, or a restricted frenum, are terms used when the frenum is short and restricts the normal mobility of the tongue. The lingual frenum is the cord of tissue that stretches from under the tongue to the floor of the mouth.  Everyone has a lingual frenum but in some people it is tighter or shorter than it should be.  A tongue-tie is present at birth, but often goes undetected.  When the tongue is physically anchored to the floor of the mouth by a tongue tie, it can have a negative effect on oral development, oral function, speech, breathing and more.



In infants - Difficulty breastfeeding or bottle feeding, colic, reflux, painful nursing, difficulty introducing solids, ear infections.

In children- Gagging or choking on foods, difficulty swallowing pills, delayed development of speech, messy or noisy eating, ear infections, teeth grinding, snoring.

In adults- Chronic headaches or migraines, neck and shoulder tension, jaw pain, teeth grinding, snoring, obstructive sleep apnea, narrow  jaws, orthodontic problems or relapse,  inability to speak clearly when speaking loud or soft, mumbled speech, and even poor dental health as evidenced by multiple restorations and root canals specially on the molars.


If your tongue is not able to do the functions shown below, or uses other muscles to help, you may want to consider an evaluation with an Orofacial Myofunctional therapist.



It could be something structural such as a tongue-tie, or a tongue space issue, or it could be functional matter such as a low tongue tone that prevents it from achieving optimal function. 


When someone has been identified as having a tongue-tie, they may require a simple surgical procedure called a "frenectomy" to release the restricted frenum.  During your initial OMT assessment in our practice, every client is screened for a tongue-tie and we can help determine if a frenectomy may be required.  Sometimes myofunctional therapy alone can stretch the restricted frenum well enough and restore the functionality of the tongue to a desired level so that a frenectomy might not be required. During your program your therapist will constantly assess the tongue and its range of motion. If the client is not able to perform the exercises due to a tongue restriction , then a referral will be advised.

If a frenectomy is necessary, you/your child will be referred to an appropriate provider to perform the procedure. Post frenectomy exercises and stretches will be provided by your myofunctional therapist to ensure proper healing and avoid reattachment of the frenum.




Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders interrupt normal muscle movement patterns, typically associated with the lip, tongue, and/or jaw. Failure to address an OMD can result in (or contribute to):

  • Long term mouth-breathing which may impact overall health

  • Improper chewing and swallowing patterns (including noisy chewing/swallowing)

  • Inadequate jaw development and/or facial growth, resulting in poor alignment of the teeth

  • Slowing the process of orthodontic treatment (braces) and increasing risk of relapse once treatment is complete

  • Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD) including jaw pain, ringing in the ears and vertigo

  • Tooth grinding/clenching

  • Speech sound alterations

  • Chronic facial/neck/back pain or strain

  • Various degrees of sleep disordered breathing

Untreated OMD’s (orofacial myofunctional disorders)
Myofunctional therapy can lead to visible improvement in the facial structure in as little as 9-12 months
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