What is Orofacial Myology?
Orofacial myology might sound like a bit of a mouthful at first. In layman’s terms, ‘orofacial’ refers to the face and mouth region while ‘myology’ is the area of medicine that’s focused on muscles and how they work. Together, these two words refer to healthcare that pays attention to treating problems of the face, jaw and mouth by working with patients’ muscles.
These problems might be poor sleep due to breathing difficulties, pain in the face and neck area or ongoing problems after dental surgery or orthodontic work.
Orofacial myologists are trained in recognising problems in your muscles and working with you to overcome these by retraining the muscles to function as they should.
Orofacial myology treats the cause, not just the symptoms. That makes it a great complement to other treatments you may be receiving, whether that’s dental work or allied health treatment such as speech pathology. Orofacial myology is also an excellent standalone option that can help prevent problems from worsening over time, particularly in children.
Treatment by an orofacial myologist involves short exercises that train your muscles to function properly, a bit like going to the gym and building up other muscles in your body.
You can think of your orofacial myologist as a personal trainer for your face and neck region. You’re involved every step of the way and you and your therapist set goals together, checking in on progress regularly.
To qualify as an orofacial myologist, you must already have an undergraduate qualification in a dental, medical profession or speech pathology. Then you can go on to postgraduate study in the field. You must complete a certified course in orofacial myology and you have to be registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency to be allowed to practice in Australia.
Why Orofacial Myology
There are many reasons why people see orofacial myologists. We treat a wide range of problems in everybody from young children through to retirees. The complexity of the face and jaw muscles mean that it’s very common for imbalances or abnormalities to develop, especially in children.
Do you need treatment?
If you experience any of the following, the answer could be yes. Orofacial myology has been helpful for others with these problems.
Pain or discomfort around the face, jaw or mouth
Obstructive sleep apnoea
Pain or impairment of the hinge between your skull and lower jaw (your temporomandibular joint)
Asymmetrical appearance of the face or lips
Crooked teeth and crowded mouths
Tongue thrust swallow
Incorrect chewing function
Painful ears when flying
You may not have an orofacial disorder or pain, but simply want to improve the appearance and shape of your face as you grow older, without the need for cosmetic surgery. Orofacial myology can help with this too.
What are the benefits of orofacial myology?
People of all ages have much to gain from seeing an orofacial myologist. Correct muscle function is so important for our health and for normal growth and development.
We know our treatment helps people because we see the results.
- After your treatment you will enjoy a much better quality of life
You feel like you’re in control of your health
You learn the skills to be able to manage your own problems
Parents gain peace of mind that their children’s orofacial problems are being addressed early, before they turn into something serious
Avoid surgery. You save money and skip the long recovery
Our treatment is painless and non-invasive
You know that you’re addressing your problem at its root cause
- Other health treatments are more likely to succeed (for example, orthodontics)