In discussions about the way oral health affects overall health, we often hear about things like gum disease, tooth loss, and cavities. However, there is another major way in which the mouth can affect overall wellness. With the orofacial structures do not function properly, serious problems may result that affect a child’s breathing, swallowing, and physical development. Orofacial myology in Tennessee is designed to address such problems so children can have the best start in life. How can you know if your child would benefit from orofacial myology therapy (OMT)?
Minor Defects Lead to Major Problems
Two of the most common problems that lead to the need for OMT are lip tie and tongue tie. Lip tie occurs when the upper lip is connected to the upper gums, and tongue tie is when extra tissue on the bottom of the tongue restricts its movement. Both of these conditions can make it difficult for an infant to correctly breastfeed or bottle feed. They may also lead to a habit of mouth-breathing, which can endanger long-term oral health.
Surgery is able to address lip tie and tongue tie. Using a soft tissue laser, Dr. Prather can perform a quick procedure to correct the structural defects. The laser helps to avoid the need for general anesthesia, and because it cauterizes the area as it cuts, recovery time is relatively short.
Therapy to Correct Bad Habits
Even after lip tie or tongue tie is surgically addressed, a child may retain the habits they learned before the procedure. For example, they may still press their tongue against their teeth (a condition known as tongue thrust). The constant pressure can lead to abnormal tooth development. OMT is often the key to training a child to correct such behaviors before they lead to long-term damage.
OMT can also address problems unrelated to lip tie or tongue tie. For instance, prolonged thumb-sucking or pacifier usage could result in an improper resting position of the tongue. The goal of OMT is to teach the tongue and other orofacial structures to rest property so a child can enjoy easy breathing and swallowing and prevent future dental health problems.
Signs That Your Child Could Benefit from OMT
Some indicators that your child may benefit from OMT include:
- They continually breathe through their mouth
- They produce speech sounds with the tongue too far forward in the mouth
- They have been in speech therapy, but they still have trouble articulating certain sounds
- Their dentist or orthodontist has mentioned that your child has tongue thrust or another orofacial myofunctional disorder
- They snore loudly or exhibit other signs of obstructive sleep apnea
OMT may play a pivotal role in your child’s development. If you suspect that your little one could benefit from it, get in touch with a local expert who can evaluate your child’s orofacial structures and recommend a treatment plan.
About the Author
Dr. Paige Prather is a dentist who has undergone extensive training in treating lip tie and tongue tie. She works alongside a certified orofacial myology specialist to help children achieve normal orofacial function. To learn more about how our practice may be able to help your little one, contact us at 615-771-2151.