During adolescence, if the jaw, airway, and other facial structures don’t develop correctly, they can cause issues such as TMD, sleep apnea, speech problems and so much more. Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy (OMT) is a treatment option that can help patients correct their development and the resulting issues. To help you understand OMT better, we’ve compiled some of our top questions patients ask us with complete answers. Read through them below to get a better understanding of OMT.

happy young girl with big, wide smile on her face

How does OMT work?

OMT uses a combination of oral appliances and exercises. The oral appliance supplements the forces of your muscles to make changes in the arches or teeth. There are both removable and fixed appliances. The exercises retrain your muscles to chew, swallow, breathe and bite. 

What is the link between feeding infants and speech?

When you feed an infant either from a bottle or from the breast, it helps stimulate the child’s orofacial muscles to contribute to their facial growth. During this time, proper suction and chewing habits prevent dental problems and difficulties. Breastfeeding tends to result in better development because it stimulates the orofacial muscles more.

Why do some infants have difficulty sucking?

To ensure your child has correct facial development, they need to have proper suction when feeding. If your child has difficulty sucking, it might be from frenulum restriction (tongue-tie), improper feeding position, absence of lip seal when feeding, or lack of movement from the tongue and jaw during feeding. One way we can resolve sucking issues is with tongue-tie treatment.

What is tongue-tie?

Tongue-tie, or tethered oral tissue (TOT), is when the frenulum is too tight and restricts the tongue from moving in full motion. Tongue-tie can cause feeding problems in infants in addition to speech problems and more down the line. We can refer patients to treat the tongue tie with a simple procedure at the Wisconsin Tongue-Tie Center. The procedure involves cutting the tissue using the LightScapel C02 soft tissue laser. The procedure is fast and produces instant results!

When should tongue-tie be treated?

We recommend treating the tongue-tie if it’s causing any issues related to swallowing, sucking, speaking, talking, or chewing. If your baby is having issues feeding, getting checked for tongue-tie as soon as possible can help you resolve the issue faster and prevent further issues down the line. 

How does OMT help stop snoring?

OMT can improve the tongue’s resting position which can help keep the airway open during sleep. As a result, it can prevent snoring.

How does OMT help TMJ?

Certain OMT techniques can help restore balance to the muscles in the face, neck, and jaw which can help improve painful symptoms of TMJ.

Is OMT Right For Me?

OMT is incredibly beneficial to patients who suffer from TMJ, sleep apnea, speech problems, and more. The treatment works for patients of all ages from children to adults. Contact Bite Align in Fort Atkinson today at (920) 563-7323 to schedule an appointment to find out if OMT is right for you or your child.