Services Offered

We are here to guide you or your child on a journey to better oral functioning by looking at the root of the problem rather than using a “band-aid” approach.  We take a holistic approach in the following areas:

Articulation Disorders

Tongue-Thrust Swallowing

Pre- and Post- Frenectomy Treatment

Negative Oral Habit Elimiation (thumb-sucking, extended pacifier use, etc.)

Nasal Breathing Education and Treatment

Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders

Ankyloglossia (Tongue-Tie)

Ankyloglossia is described as “a congenital oral anomaly found in 4 percent to 10 percent of newborns, describing an unusually thick, short oral frenulum (the membrane attaching the underside of the tongue to the floor of the mouth).”

Speech-language therapists are often involved with issues surrounding tongue-tie and lip-tie. Megan is trained in assessing the impact these tethered oral tissues may have on feeding, speech, or swallowing for affected patients. If it determined that function is affected, Megan can guide the family in making treatment option decisions. When a surgical approach is taken, she can be involved in therapy to retrain the oral muscles afterward.

Negative Oral Habits

Negative oral habits, such as thumb-sucking, finger-sucking, and extended pacifier use can be detrimental to dentition, resting-position of the tongue, speech, and chewing/swallowing patterns. Many well-meaning professionals and friends will advise parents to “wait and see” since many children grow out of these habits. Truth is, when these habits extend beyond the age of four, chances are that damage will occur to the oral structures. Many times, children are left with an open bite and high-vaulted narrow hard palates. As a result, children can become chronic mouth-breathers, have imprecise speech, and/or struggle to chew and swallow efficiently and effectively.

It is imperative to use a system to eliminate these negative habits that is child-driven and positive. It is also important to use a team-based approach in order to ensure success.

Please contact Megan if you need help in setting up an elimination program for a child four-years or older.  These programs include 3 direct sessions and daily phone calls within a 10-day period.

Orofacial Myology

What are Orofacial Myology Disorders?

The term “orofacial myology disorders” (OMDs) include one or a combination of the following:

  • negative oral habits, such as thumb-sucking and prolonged pacifier use
  • a mouth-open lips-open resting posture
  • a forward rest posture of the tongue
  • thrusting of the tongue forward in speaking and/or swallowing

 

What are the Consequences of OMDs?

  • Malocclusion (improper alignment of the teeth)
  • Periodontal disorders (i.e., gum disease, tooth decay)
  • Orthodontic relapse
  • Changes associated with abnormal jaw growth and position

What causes OMDs?

  • An obstructed nasal airway secondary to enlarged tonsils/adenoids, deviated septum, allergies, nasal polyps, etc.
  • Negative 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, such as tongue ties, cleft palates, etc.
  • Neurological and congenital disorders (Pierre Robin Syndrome)
  • Hereditary predisposition to the above

What’s all this I hear about the importance of nasal breathing?

According to the International Association of Orofacial Myology, “The most common cause of an OMD is a lack of nasal breathing. When nasal breathing is impeded, the body naturally accommodates by relying on mouth breathing. Long-term mouth breathing changes the natural resting position of the jaw, tongue and lips. This change in position can influence growth patterns of the lower and upper jaw and often result in the development of significant malocclusion. Furthermore, long term mouth breathing compromises the natural process of breathing which relies on the nasal airway to cleanse and purify air for the pulmonary system.”

Orofacial Myologists are trained to assess contributing factors and can help refer you to the appropriate clinicians to address these concerns.

Why should we be concerned about OMDs?

Failure to address these issues can result in:

  • Long term mouth-breathing patterns that compromise overall healthy breathing
  • Establishment of detrimental oral habits that impede further growth and development
  • Establishment of atypical patterns that impact chewing and swallowing
  • The improper development/alignment of the teeth
  • The improper development of jaw growth and facial structure
  • Slowing the process of orthodontic treatment
  • Undermining the long-term stability of orthodontic treatment, resulting in malocclusion relapse
  • Negatively impacting the stability and function of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ)
  • Speech distortions
  • Negatively affecting social relationships due to open mouth postures or noisy chewing and swallowing patterns

It’s important to note…

Orofacial myology therapy is not the same as speech therapy. Not all individuals who have orofacial myofunctional issues have an articulation disorder and not all who have a speech problem have orofacial myofunctional issues.

This information is summarized from Dr. Robert Mason, DMD, PhD and The International Association of Orofacial Myology