Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy?
A: OMT is a neuromuscular retraining of the mouth, jaw, tongue and throat muscles. You might think of it like mouth physical therapy.
You must be committed to doing the exercise given 3 times a day to see results.
We work with all the muscles of the head, neck, mouth, and throat. When some muscles are not doing their jobs, other muscles must compensate. This leads to disfunction. Disfunction of airway muscles leads to a closed airway which can lead to headaches. Disfunction of the tongue muscles leads to jaw strain and pain and/or crowded teeth or incorrect bite.
Q: How can OMT help jaw joint pain or strain?
A: Jaw Joint pain often stems from jaw muscle dysfunction. Dysfunction can occur from an accident/injury or it may have started at birth with bottle feeding and thumb sucking. It can also be due to tongue restrictions like a tongue-tie or narrow mouth. The tongue has 16 muscles that all connect to the jaw or skull. If some of those muscles are not doing their jobs then other muscles must compensate, creating a domino effect that pulls on the jaw joint itself. As you work with your dentist or chiropractor to change the structure of your jaw and spine I will help you correct your muscle function to support those healthy changes. So that once we are done your body will function for you instead of against you!
Q: How can OMT help me breathe better at night?
Breathing seems so simple, but if you are a light sleeper, snore, have sleep apnea, or don't wake rested after 7-8 hours sleep, you likely suffer from a breathing disorder. We can help you breathe better as you work with your dentist to expand your airway. There are several exercises that can tone the muscles of the tongue and help it stay in the mouth and not slide into the throat blocking the airway. There are several exercises that can tone the throat itself opening it up and allowing you to breathe with ease. (see before and after x-ray on the home page)
Q: How long does Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy take?
A: Each person is different, but OMT usually takes about 8-9 months. The first 3 months are usually about establishing functional habits of the mouth and throat itself. Then the next 3-4 months are about helping the head and neck support the changes we have created in the mouth and throat.
Q: How long is a regular OMT session? How often do we meet?
A: Once we get started OMT sessions will take about 30-40 minutes each. We will start meeting every week, until you graduate every other week and then once a month.
Q: How do I know if I need OMT?
A: Do you struggle to breathe at night? Do you wake up rested? Do you take naps most days? Do you breathe through your mouth during the day or night? Do you have jaw pain or reduced jaw function? Do you have a small mouth? You might benefit from OMT.
Its very helpful to see a functional dentist or orthodontist for a CBCT x-ray/scan. We can measure your nose, mouth, throat to figure out what would be best for you. You can sign up for an assessment with me and we can discuss your concerns.
Q: How long do I need to practice each day to see results?
A: The exercises I’ll give you take about 10 minutes 3 times a day every day.
Q: How long will the results last?
A: You will not need to do these exercises forever. Once you have established proper function your mouth and nose will have new functional habits that will maintain themselves.
Q: What is the most common reason OMT is unsuccessful?
A: Lack of practice! Those who sign up without thinking about when they will do the assigned exercises three times a day often don't do them three times a day and they see fewer results. Please think through your schedule. Can you realistically add practice into your schedule every day? Best to wait until you can make it a priority.
Also not using the appliance your dentist or orthodontist recommends. Our skulls are fully formed by the age of 12 If your mouth is too small for your tongue, your dentist can help you expand your mouth. You must then learn to support these structural changes with your tongue so you don't relapse once the mouth appliance has done its job.
Q: My dentist says I have a tongue-tie, but it doesn't bother me, should I do anything about it?
A: If your dentist did not explain the effects of a tongue-tie on the jaw and airway please know that ankyloglossia (a tongue restriction or a tongue-tie) can lead to muscle fatigue of the mouth and jaw resulting in strain in the head and neck as well as poor jaw growth and a narrow airway.
See my extended video for detailed information.