Frequently Asked Questions
Myofunctional therapy & how it works
What Is OMT?
Orofacial myofunctional therapy (OMT) uses an individualized series of strength and pattern retraining exercises to optimize the movement of the mouth, face & throat muscles.
Each muscle has a specific job, but when a problem arises our bodies adapt and find a new way to complete necessary functions. Over time these compensations can lead to chronic pain and effect our facial symmetry, breathing, and sleep quality to name a few.
Eliminating maladaptive habits, modifying muscle movements and restoring correct resting posture has a positive impact on overall health.
What Is An Orofacial Myofunctional Disorder?
This includes dysfunction of the mouth and facial muscles that interferes with normal growth, development or function. These disorders may affect sleep, speech, facial symmetry, skeletal growth, orthodontic treatment, jaw movement, etc.
What are the goals?
To get your muscles moving and resting properly! By achieving the following goals, overall health can be improved.
- Establish day & night nasal breathing
- Establish a correct tongue resting posture (tip, middle and back of tongue slightly suctioned to the roof of the mouth)
- Optimizing proper chewing, drinking & swallowing
- Eliminate noxious habits that prevent proper resting posture (i.e. thumb/ finger sucking, nail biting …)
Who can benefit from OMT?
If you’re struggling with one or more of the conditions listed below you could benefit from myofunctional therapy!
|Mouth Breathing||Tongue-Tie||Facial Asymmetry||Asthma|
|Tongue-Thrust||Teeth Grinding/Clenching||Jaw Pain||Anxiety|
|Snoring/ Sleep Disordered Breathing||Digestion Issues||ADHD like Symptoms|
|Poor Posture||Orthodontic Relapse||Neck Pain||Speech Problems|
What is a good age to start OMT?
OMT can guide your health in the right direction at any age. I see individuals ages 5 through adulthood for myofunctional therapy and habit elimination.
Addressing myofunctional disorders early on is recommended to achieve the best outcomes but teens and adults can still obtain life changing results as well.
TIes, sleep & More
What is a tongue tie? Do I need a tongue tie release?
We all have a band of tissue under our tongues called a frenulum. When the frenulum is exceptionally tight, thick or short this is referred to as a tongue-tie (ankyloglossia). This hereditary (runs in families) & congenital (occurs at birth) condition is relatively common. The treatment for a tongue tie is a relatively simple procedure called a frenectomy. This procedure is most often done by a dentist but can also be completed by other doctors such as oral surgeons or ENTs. In the past, ties were only addressed when an infant had difficulty nursing or a speech delay was present, but more recent research links tongue ties to a number of medical conditions including muscle tension, sleep disordered breathing, speech problems and ADHD.
It’s unadvised to determine if a tongue tie needs a release solely off of its appearance. The best way to tell if you need a release is to have an oral function assessment completed. This is usually completed by a myofunctional therapist or a release provider. During that evaluation, we assess the tongue’s function, look for any related signs and symptoms and establish a game plan from there.
Does OMT start before or after a tongue-tie release?
OMT is needed before and after!
Strengthening the tongue and oral/facial muscles can provide significant relief even before a frenectomy is completed!
To ensure that the frenectomy does more good than harm, we need to minimize compensations, correct tongue posture and strengthen the surrounding muscles before the release. This helps prevent your newly freed tongue from blocking your airway and sets you up for a successful healing process.
The initial healing after a frenectomy takes about 6 weeks but the full healing process can take up to 6 months which is why we continue OMT after as well. During this time we will continue to work though strengthening, breathing re-education and forming new life long healthy habits.
What is a tongue thrust?
Just like braces, muscles can move teeth too!
A tongue thrust is a great example of this and is one of the more recognizable signs that someone may need myofunctional therapy. It presents as an open space between the top and bottom front or back teeth. When the tongue and lips are not resting in the proper position, the teeth are pushed out of alignment each time a swallow occurs. Aside from aesthetic purposes, reasons to address a tongue thrust include preventing orthodontic relapse, mouth breathing, speech concerns and even sleep disordered breathing.
OMT is simple and yields profound results when used to correct a tongue trust pattern.
Is TMJ pain helped by OMT?
It sure can be!
OMT is a noninvasive, needle free solution to generalized facial and jaw pain. More often than not, TMJ pain is due to muscular compensations as opposed to an abnormality with the joint itself. OMT helps get to the root cause of the pain by increasing jaw mobility and strengthening the muscles that help support optimal jaw function.
Can OMT help improve my Sleep Apnea?
OMT is a great adjunct therapy for those with mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Current research shows that myofunctional therapy can decrease sleep apnea by 50% in adults and up to 62% in kids(1). Studies have also shown that OMT can prevent residual OSA in children after the removal of tonsils/adenoids as well as help with CPAP compliance(2). When the oral muscles are toned and a correct rest posture is established, sleep can be improved significantly.
(1)Myofunctional Therapy to Treat Obstructive Sleep Apnea: A Systemic Review and Analysis. Camancho M., Certal V., et al. SLEEP, Volume 38, No. 5., 2015.
(2) de Felício CM, da Silva Dias FV, Trawitzki LVV. Obstructive sleep apnea: focus on myofunctional therapy. Nat Sci Sleep. 2018;10:271-286
Why work with a Myofunctional Therapist?
Think of me as your “airway traffic controller”
Dealing with a myofunctional disorder in your family can feel overwhelming, but you don’t have to do it alone. I am here to meet you where you are in your journey and guide you in the right direction to ensure you’re set up for success. This includes connecting you with other airway-centric providers and creating a program tailored to your specific needs. Together we will retrain your facial and oral muscles to function properly so you can get back to doing what you love.
Do you offer Tele-therapy?
Yes! For your convenience, sessions are primarily held virtually through the secure program, Simple Practice. I do offer home visits on a case by case basis, please inquire for more information.
How much does Myofunctional therapy cost? Can I use my Insurance/HSA/FSA?
The cost varies depending on your specific needs but generally individual sessions can range between $115-$150 and Myofunctional Therapy Programs can range between $1,850-$3,000. I am aware that the cost of treatment can be taxing for families which is why I offer payment plans, discounts for families and discounts for up front payment.
Right now, OMT is not well-covered by insurance though this is slowly but surely changing. Reaching out to your medical insurance provider to check for out-of-network coverage is the best way to see what options are available to you. I do not bill your insurance directly but am more than happy to supply you with a Super-Bill (invoice) that you can submit to your insurance for reimbursement.
Most FSA/HSA plans do cover myofunctional therapy.