What is an Orofacial Myofunctional Disorder (OMD) or "Tongue Thrust"?
A "tongue thrust" has been defined as improper placement of the tongue during the act of swallowing. When swallowing, or at rest, the tongue thrusts in between, forward, or sideways against the teeth, rather than lifting up to the palate (roof of mouth). A tongue thrust is also referred as an "incorrect resting posture and swallowing pattern" and is the most common orofacial disorder. An orofacial myology disorder involves incorrect patterns of muscle function and incorrect habits involving the tongue, lips and jaw.
The treatment of orofacial myofunctional disorders and noxious habits such as thumbsucking, finger sucking, pacifier sucking elimination, incorrect resting tongue and lip posture, and incorrect swallowing pattern (tongue thrust).
If the muscles of the tongue, cheek and lips appear to be contributing to a dental malocclusion or articulation deficit, this is a reason for concern.
Myofunctional therapy programs are designed to retrain patterns of muscle function in chewing, swallowing and resting posture of the tongue, lips and facial muscles.
Programs generally require at least 12-14 weeks of dedication to attending regular therapy sessions and practicing daily. Once the program is complete, a routine is established to achieve habituation of the new muscle patterns.