Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders can have a negative effect on the development of the dentition and the alignment of the teeth and jaws. Low and forward tongue resting posture can open up the bite.
Early identification and treatment of Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders is recommended for most patients for two reasons:
- By correcting abnormal muscle function early, normal dental growth is encouraged
- The abnormal habits are usually not as ingrained as they may be later on (Source: IAOM)
Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders are seen at any age if not addressed early in life.
In addition, if a patient has or has had orthodontic work and oral rest postures along with restoring the dental freeway space aren't addressed, then orthodontic relapse may occur. This is when the patient's teeth move; the bite can open up requiring a second round of braces. Correcting the myofunctional disorder can help stabilize the orthodontic result.
Articulation problems that are associated with myofunctional disorders can persist into adulthood, negatively impacting upon intelligibility and clarity of one's message.
Orofacial Myologists assess tongue and lip restrictions of all ages, however, it is particularly important to ensure they are released when working with infants. Restricted or tight frenums can negatively impact upon breastfeeding. Many problems can occur such as poor latching, inability to express appropriate amounts of milk which leads to poor weight gain. This in turn can cause early weaning, switching to bottle feeding prematurely. 'Early weaning brings consequences to oral motor development, occlusion, breathing and oral motor aspects. Breastfeeding develops proper sucking patterns which is the prevention of speech-language disorders.' Jornal de Pediatria, 2003