Oral health is deeply and inescapably connected to physical health and overall quality of life. Issues with the teeth, jaws, gums, and the muscles of the face and neck can prevent simple everyday acts – like drinking and speaking – from being comfortable. For conditions like myofunctional disorders, early diagnosis and treatment can have excellent results. But what is a myofunctional disorder? Learn more about them below.
What is a Myofunctional Disorder?
An Orofacial Myofunctional Disorder (OMD) is a condition that occurs when the natural development of the bones and muscles in the face and mouth have been hindered in some way. People who suffer from myofunctional disorders can have issues with oral movement and show speech-language impediments. Many people with OMDs also have problems with eating, swallowing, and breathing. Patients at any age can experience this condition, but the earlier it’s detected, the sooner treatment or therapy can begin.
Signs of an OMD
- Difficulty breathing through the nose (mouth-breathing)
- Overbite, underbite, or other noticeable dental issues
- Tongue pushed out past the teeth
- Messy eating
- Difficulty swallowing
- Trouble pronouncing certain sounds (like the letters “s,” “sh,” and “j”)
Some of these symptoms, like messy eating or sticking the tongue out, are perfectly normal for babies and small children, and could resolve as they grow older. Displaying some or all of these signs don’t necessarily indicate an OMD, but it’s still best to get a diagnosis as soon as possible to learn how to address these behaviors.
How Your Dentist Can Help
If you think you or someone in you know may be suffering from a myofunctional disorder, don’t hesitate to get a professional opinion. Your dentist can help to assess the situation by checking the teeth and jaw, looking for signs of obstruction or poor development.
At My Family Dentistry, Dr. Mullins has years of experience in spotting, diagnosing, and treating all types of dental conditions, for patients of all ages. For young children especially, this process can be unfamiliar and frightening. Luckily, Dr. Wes and his team are trained in the latest pediatric dentistry practices to keep our smallest patients comfortable.
Now that we’ve answered the question, “what is a myofunctional disorder,” we can help you with next steps. Schedule an appointment today and enjoy warm, professional care in a relaxing, spa-like environment.