Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy for Lip & Tongue Tie

Children and adults with tongue tie often have oral habits that are compensations for the function they were not able to achieve as infants. As an infant grows, the tongue spreads the palate and, thus, the teeth out. When the tongue is unable to reach the roof of the mouth, that process does not happen effectively. These and other oral habits can snowball into adulthood and effect the child later in life. These issues present as trouble with solids, inability to hold a pacifier, coughing/choking on foods, etc. Long story short: if the infant never learned proper function, we have to correct the habits over time in the form of speech therapy. Speech therapy encompasses much more than just articulation and we have wonderful colleagues with a lot of experience and certifications that want to help your child. We will ensure that you are connected with a knowledgeable and courteous provider. For children less than one year old to age four, we advise it is best to work with someone trained in Beckman Oral Motor Therapy. This methodology is best for patients who are unable to comply with instructions given to them.

Debra Beckman CCC-SLP, creator this protocol, explains this best: “The majority of baseline protocols currently available require at least minimal direction-following skills. The protocol developed by Beckman uses mechanical muscle responses, which are not mediated cognitively, to baseline the response to pressure and movement, range of movement, variety of movement, strength of movement and control of movement for the lips, cheeks, jaw, and tongue.”

Our patients will undergo at least four weeks of therapy prior to frenectomy. Surgery is always a last resort, so we ensure that every option has been exhausted through the help of this therapy. Dr. Rowe also recommends therapy for 4-6 weeks after the procedure. This therapy is to ensure that the retraining was successful.

For children and adults 4 and up, our patients must undergo a very prestigious and specialized therapy Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy. This therapy can be given by dentists, dental hygienists and more commonly, SLPs. This therapy is “to help the patient retrain these adaptive patterns of muscle function, and to create and maintain a healthy orofacial environment. Treatment goals may include the following:

  • Normalize tongue and lip resting postures
  • Establish nasal breathing patterns
  • Eliminate improper chewing and swallowing patterns
  • Stabilize the dentition from extraneous orofacial muscle movement
  • Address harmful oral habits including:
    • Prolonged pacifier use
    • Thumb and/or finger sucking
    • Fingernail, cheek, or lip biting
    • Tongue sucking
    • Clenching or grinding of the teeth

Benefits of Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy may include:

  • Correcting and improving tongue and lip postures which can aid in the development of normal patterns of dental eruption and alignment.
  • Assisting in the stabilization of the teeth during and/or after orthodontic treatment or jaw surgery
  • Identifying the need and referring for Speech treatment. Supporting the remediation of speech errors differently than some traditional methods