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The orofacialmyology therapy is a Muscle Function Training. (OM = MFT)

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Through OM/MFT, it is possible to learn physiological, normal patterns of movement and to abandon bad habits. There are different reasons  for the malformation of the teeth (including crooked and craniofacial anomalies of the jaw)). Genetic as well as environmental factors  play an important role.

Habits

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Orofacial myology deals with any habits, or behavioral patterns, that need attention due to their inappopriateness as well as their undesirable efect on the teeth and/or speech. These include thumb or finger sucking (or suckling), tongue licking, lip biting or licking, object sucking and biting. The most harmful of all habits seems to be the resting or pushing the tongue against the front teeth.

The identification  and treatment of those habits as early as possible is a precondition to start a succesful orofacial myology- and orthodontical treatment. For the treatment  to be successful, all of the above mentioned patterns must be modified.

Form and function

MFT/ OM is based on the knowledge, that a well-balanced funktion of the muscular system of the cheeks, lips and the tongue contribute to an optimal formation of the teeth. The same attention needs to be paid to the muscular tension of the face and jaws. An unbalanced facial and oral system can often be found in the expression of the body language. The tongue plays a decisive role in the OM/MFT and orthodontics. It has a crucial influence on the development of the teeth, their position and the palate.

The power of the tongue

The tongue exerts  a power of 1.5 - 3 kg.

Persons swallow  on average 2000 times in 24 hours. In case of infantile, immature swallowing, the teeth have to resist this daily pressure.

How to learn to swallow

OM/MFT leads to a physiological and functional correct pattern of swallowing (more mature type):

  • by preventing the tongue from presssing against the teeth while swallowing.
  • by keeping the tongue while swallowing in the right position behind the upper front teeth.

Some goals of OM/MFT

  • the abandonment of abnormal habits
  • the achievement of a muscular balance in the area of  face, mouth and jaw.
  • the modification of nose breahting
  • the correct positioning of the tongue
  • the adoption of a physiological, more mature swallowing.

OM at any age:

the OM plays a crucial role:

  • in the timely identification in early childhood
  • at the preschool and adolescent level
  • in the prevention of bad habits
  • in the adult age  as part of oral surgery and orthodontics
  • in the event of insufficient denture
  • in a supplementary  therapy in the context of  dissabilities  as well as effects of accidents.

Allthough OM is  preventiv, preparative and/or supportive, it does not replace an orthodontic treatment. OM has to be regarded as a supportive measure within the framework of a wider medical treatment.

The treatment of orofacial dysfunktions can require  interdisciplinary communication and cooperation with the following special fields:

  • Dentistry
  • ENT-medicine
  • Physiotherapy
  • Osteopathy
  • Speech Pathology
  • Orofacial Myology

Speech Pathology

The task of the speech patholigist is the identification of  probable causes of linguistic, vocal and speaking definciences through case history , clarification and determination of present "abnormalties" and malfunctions.

Subsequently, the aime is to improve of solve the difficulties of communications through the applicition of a specific individual therapy. The  treatment focuses not only on problems of speech and speaking but also on immature swallowing.

Examples are:

  • tongue trust
  • speech disorders
  • bad habits
  • hypersalivaion
  • clumsiness
  • incorrect posture

Linguistic communication is complex and requires the cooperation of specialists from various professional fields.

Orthodontics  

The goal of orthodontics is the identification, prophylaxis and treatment of deficient positions to teeth and  jaw  and their malformation. The diagnosis is based on thorough conversation and questionnaire. X-rays,   impresssion of the teeth, photographs and additional  interdisciplinary information as required. Due to the interrelation of function and development of the bones and teeth, it is important to detect these functions as early  as possible.

Since a OM-dysfunction could result in a dental deviation, it  is tnecessary to treat it immediately during childhood or early adolescence. Other possibly existing impediments (impeding factors) should be eliminated before the commencement of the therapy/treatment.

Physiotherapy

The role of the physiotherapist is to "work" with the body, its posture and movement. The posture of the body  or part of the body while  sitting, standing and/or walking plays a decisive role in the appearance of a person and influences the expression of  the body language.

The Posture

The alerting to  the body poster, especially, posture straightening exercises influence the position of both the feet and pelvic and as  such the entire posture of the individual and his/her appearance.

The physiotherapist holding an OM-certification supports the OM by pointing out the posture and behaviour of the child or adult

Osteopathy

The task of D.O. is to consider the person from a holistic perspective of the manual medicine/therapy. All systems/functions of the individual are connected and influence one other (i.e. intestines, nerves, joints, hormones, the brain,  cerebral liquid). The D.O. "sees" with his hands and  treats the through impediments of the organism caused functional disorders. Such  disorders among toddlers and children occur due to problems during childh delivery or later accidents and can result in defects of the spine, cranium and jaw.

Cooperation and mutual acceptence are crucial for a succesful therapy.

©  Helma Kaspers -2003,  IIG MFT- Schweiz

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