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An orofacial myofunctional disorder (OMD) is characterized by an abnormal lip, jaw, or tongue position during rest, swallowing, or speech. It can also include the presence of abnormal oral habits.
OMD can be caused by upper airway obstruction, chronic finger or thumb sucking, extended pacifier or bottle use, orofacial muscular and structural differences, and genetics.
Signs and Symptoms can include:
- Speech distortion; particularly a frontal lisp
- Chronic open mouth positioning
- Dental abnormalities; such as overjet and open bite
- Tongue thrust: when the tongue pushes against or between the teeth during speech or swallowing.
Most treatment programs are individualized and focus on tongue and facial resting postures, swallowing, and speech articulation. Children often need help and encouragement from their family to practice prescribed exercises. The best outcomes are achieved when parents or guardians work with their child every day.