How to Identify and Treat Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders

In the intricate symphony of oral and facial muscles, disruptions can lead to a myriad of challenges known as Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders (OMDs). From infancy through adulthood, these disorders manifest in various forms, impacting not just oral function but also broader aspects of health and well-being. Understanding their nature, causes, and treatment is crucial for promoting optimal oral health and overall quality of life.

What are Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders (OMDs)?

Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders (OMDs) are conditions involving the patterns of muscles in the mouth and face, which can affect normal growth, development, or function. These disorders can occur in children, teens, and adults and may be influenced by learned behaviors, physical factors, genetics, and environmental factors.

Does your child keep sucking their thumb and fingers? It is one of the common examples of Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders:

  • Tongue thrust
  • Thumb and finger sucking habits
  • Resting with lips apart
  • Abnormal Breathing
  • Tongue and lip ties
  • Macroglossia
  • Snoring
  • Sleep apnea/sleeping disorders
  • Speech Misarticulations (Lisps)
  • Chewing and feeding disorders…

Children and adults who suffer from OMDs normally exhibit these signs and symptoms:

  • Keep their mouth open habitually
  • Have structural abnormalities in their mouth or face
  • Suffer from dental issues like overbite or underbite
  • Have their tongue resting in an abnormal position
  • Have speech difficulties such as lisps
  • Have problems with chewing, swallowing, or drooling

Causes of Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders:

Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders can stem from various factors, including airway problems, chronic sucking habits, or structural differences in the mouth and face. Tongue positioning and breathing patterns also play a role in Orofacial Myofunctional Disorder development.

Assessment and Diagnosis:

Clinicians evaluate facial and oral structures, observe swallowing and speech patterns, and assess tongue and lip movements. Tasks like diadochokinetic exercises and assessing oral rest posture help in understanding the client’s condition.

Treatment Approaches:

  • Establishing nasal breathing patterns
  • Correcting improper chewing and swallowing habits
  • Improving tongue and lip resting postures
  • Addressing harmful oral habits like thumb sucking or teeth grinding
  • Working on speech articulation issues associated with OMDs

When Should Therapy Begin?

Therapy can start as early as age 4 to address potential causes like nasal breathing issues or tongue ties. Children aged 5 and above are ideal candidates for habit elimination programs, while teens and adults of any age can benefit from therapy.

Why Should You Be Concerned About OMDs?

Untreated Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders in children can lead to long-term issues such as breathing difficulties, dental problems, speech impairments, and social challenges (loud chewing…). Speech therapy aims to prevent these complications and promote healthy oral development and function of oral facial structures such as the jaw, temporomandibular joint…

Benefits of Speech Therapy for Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders in Dubai:

Some of the main benefits of Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders therapy for children and adults alike, are the following:

  • Decreased need for orthodontic treatment
  • Improved muscle function and dental alignment
  • Enhanced speech clarity and appearance
  • Maintenance of oral health for a lifetime

Success Rates:

Studies show that Orofacial Myofunctional Disorder treatment can be highly effective (80-90%), with corrections often lasting years after therapy completion.

Role of a Trained Speech Therapist in Dubai:

Orofacial Myofunctional Disorder therapy is personalized to address each patient’s specific needs, focusing on normalizing muscle function and creating a healthy oral environment. Therapists work on establishing proper breathing, chewing, and swallowing patterns, as well as addressing harmful oral habits and speech issues.


In the intricate tapestry of orofacial function, understanding, and addressing Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders is pivotal for unlocking the full potential of oral health and overall well-being. Through early intervention, targeted therapies, and collaborative care, we can harmonize the intricate symphony of oral and facial muscles, paving the way for a lifetime of oral harmony and vitality.

Are you looking for a speech therapist in Dubai?

At TBC, our speech therapists in Dubai are trained to help your children or your adult loved ones treat Orofacial Myofunctional Disorder. Contact TBC for more details.