Achieve Better Oral Function and Aesthetics with Oral Myofunctional Therapy (OMT)

Patients suffering from issues like mouth breathing, obstructive sleep apnea, tongue thrust, and swallowing difficulty can benefit from Oral Myofunctional Therapy (OMT) offered at Lifestyle Dentistry in Smyrna, Georgia. Dr. Aja Nichols uses OMT as a neuromuscular re-education of the oral and facial muscles. This treatment targets the jaw, tongue, face, and neck muscles to improve function and tone.

Fascinated by this painless and non-invasive treatment? Please schedule an appointment with our office.

Oral myofunctional therapy explained

Normal resting posture and muscle function are vital for breathing and proper development of facial and oral structures. OMT aims to promote nasal breathing and create an ideal environment for optimal development of oral and facial muscles.

OMT re-patterns and changes the function of oral facial muscles to end poor oral habits, such as nail biting, tongue thrusting, and improper swallowing. Additionally, dentists and other physicians have used OMT as an adjunctive treatment for TMJ disorder and sleep apnea.

Common orofacial myofunctional disorders (OMDs)

To breathe, eat, and speak properly, the muscles in the face, mouth, and throat should be structured correctly and work harmoniously as they move. While this is the ideal way, it’s not always the case. Many patients struggle with OMDs, including tongue tie, mouth breathing, tongue thrust, and jaw malocclusion.

Due to their impact on muscles, these OMDs affect various functions of the face and mouth, such as

  • Breathing
  • Biting and swallowing
  • Eating
  • Speech
  • Facial aesthetics
  • Oral hygiene
  • Dental arch development

While several factors can cause OMDs, most originate from underdeveloped jaws which can lead to chronic mouth breathing or insufficient nasal breathing. When you habitually breathe with the mouth, this disordered breathing habit distresses the function and structure of facial muscles, causing numerous myofunctional disorders. Other causes of OMDs include genetic predispositions, orthodontic issues, thumb sucking, and structural abnormalities to name a few.

How oral myofunctional therapy helps

You may not notice it, but a simple action like swallowing involves several muscles and nerves in the tongue, cheeks, and throat. All these structures must work together in harmony for better function. However, if your tongue, for instance, isn’t properly positioned, this results in an improper swallow. In such cases, oral myofunctional therapy re-trains the tongue to rest in its optimal position for improved oral function.

However, before OMT, specific issues must be addressed. For instance, physical barriers such as tongue or lip ties must be treated with appropriate treatments. Similarly, a narrowed oral cavity should be expanded to create space for better nasal breathing.

Once we complete the initial assessment, your appointments are normally scheduled every two weeks, although this differs from case to case. OMT consists of exercises and activities performed for about five minutes 2-3 times daily to help balance orofacial muscles.

Myofunctional Dentist Near Me

Since OMDs come in many shapes and sizes, a one-dimensional approach can only do so much. We work closely with other specialists, including speech therapists, orthodontists, and ENTs, to ensure you achieve optimal oral function and balance.

Want to try oral myofunctional therapy in Smyrna, GA? Please call (678) 884-4494 to schedule an appointment with Lifestyle Dentistry.

Aja Gilmore-Nichols, DDS

Dr. Aja Nichols

Aja Gilmore-Nichols, DDS, attended dental school in Indiana and served in the US Navy for five years before settling in Smyrna, GA. After receiving her Georgia licensure, she worked for ‘corporate dentistry’ and a mobile dental company caring for underserved elementary and middle school children before opening Lifestyle Dentistry in 2016.

Dr. Nichols focuses on the ABCs of dentistry: Airway, Breath, and Cosmetics. With a mission to “do the right things, at the right time, for the right reasons,” she likes to educate her patients so they can make informed decisions. She aims to provide relationship-focused dentistry that helps her patients achieve their dental goals.