What is Myo?

"Myo" refers to OMD (Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders) and OMT (Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy)

Let's Break Those Terms Down:
Oro = oral
Facial = of the face
Myofunctional = myo or myology (muscles) is the study of the structure and function of muscles

What is an Orofacial Myofunctional Disorder (OMD)?

Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders (OMDs) are atypical, adaptive patterns that emerge in the absence of normalized patterns within the orofacial complex. The regular presence of these adaptive movements can often result in a variety of disturbances.

Examples of OMDs include one or a combination of the following:

  • -- Thumb and finger sucking habits
  • -- A routine habit of resting with the lips apart
  • -- A forward resting posture of the tongue between or against the teeth
  • -- Tongue Thrust
  • -- Other harmful oral habits

OMDs are often related to, or can contribute to, a variety of dental disorders, including:

-- Malocclusion (improper alignment of the teeth)
-- Periodontal disorders
-- Orthodontic relapse
-- Changes associated with abnormal jaw growth and position

Comorbidities can also be present in clients who have OMDs:

  • -- Airway Obstruction (ex . enlarged adenoids, or deviated septum)
  • -- Changes associated with abnormal jaw growth and position
  • -- Cleft Palate
  • -- Down syndrome
  • -- Dysphagia
  • -- Sleep Apnea/Sleep-Disordered Breathing
  • -- Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ)
  • -- Tethered Oral Tissues (buccal, lip or tongue tie)


What is Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy (OMT)?

  • Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy (OMT) is a systematic, multidisciplinary approach performed by a licensed professional , which may vary internationally. OMDs require an interdisciplinary team including, but not limited to: Dental Hygiene, Speech Pathology, Dentistry, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy who are specifically trained in orofacial myology. OMT is a not a "cookie cutter" approach and involves an individualized program with a multidisciplinary team to help the patient retrain dysfunctional, adaptive patterns of muscle function for a healthy orofacial environment. Treatment goals may include the following:

    • -- Normalize tongue and lip resting postures
    • -- Establish nasal breathing patterns
    • -- Eliminate improper chewing and swallowing patterns
    • -- Stabilize the dentition from extraneous orofacial muscle movement
    • -- Address harmful oral habits including:
      • - Prolonged pacifier use
      • - Thumb and/or finger sucking
      • - Fingernail, cheek, or lip biting
      • - Tongue sucking
      • - Clenching or grinding of the teeth

    Benefits of Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy may include:

    • -- Correcting and improving tongue and lip postures which can aid in the development of normal patterns of dental eruption and alignment.
      -- Assisting in the stabilization of the teeth during and/or after orthodontic treatment or jaw surgery
      -- Identifying the need and referring for speech therapy to support the remediation of speech errors based on not only the acoustics of speech, but the oral placements as well.
      -- Supporting nasal breathing through the identification of airway obstruction, tethered oral tissues, and other structural anomalies..

Who Treats OMDs?

OMDs are typically treated in clients ages 4 and up; however, OMDs can be observed in the 0-3 population, ex., tongue-tie, and analysis at this age can be used as a baseline when developing treatment plans. Within the 4 years + population, age, as well as cognitive status, are factors in the treatment of OMDs (read more). A team approach to treating OMDs is essential, with each professional bringing their training and area of expertise, providing a comprehensive therapeutic approach. For example, a physical therapist may be a TMJ specialist and assist with pain management of the joint, or an occupational therapist may treat the feeding manifestations of an OMD. Learn more about Scope of Practice

Specialized training is required to assess and treat OMDs. For those seeking a certification, the International Association o Orofacial Myology (IAOM) has a trademarked certification in Orofacial Myology (COM®) to licensed speech pathologists and registered dental hygienists, as well as fellowships for related professionals.

TalkTools Certified Orofacial Myologists (COMs®)

There are various training programs that specialize in orofacial myology; IAOM is currently the only organization in the US that offers a trademarked certification in Orofacial Myology (COM®)

Several of our instructors have achieved this prestigious certification:

 TalkTools Fellow of Orofacial Myology (FOM)


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