Grady Cooney Speech Partners - Therapist | Oak Lawn, IL Grady Cooney Speech Partners - Therapist | Oak Lawn, IL

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Common questions regarding Orofacial Myology:

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One of the few therapists certified in Myofunctional Therapy in the midwest


Many oral structural changes and disorders are a result of atypical oral rest postures of the tongue and lips and atypically muscle function of the face and mouth. This is referred to as an orofacial myofunctional disorder (OMD). Underlying myofunctional disorders can contribute to malocclusion, and disorders of breathing, feeding, speech or posture.

An Orofacial Myofunctional Disorder (OMD) is:

  • Oral Habits, like extended thumb sucking and nail biting

  • Bottle or Pacifier use

  • Sippy cups

  • Tongue- & Lip-tie

  • Mouth Breathing

Some possible causes of an OMD include:

OM disorders are related to and can contribute to many medical and dental disorders, including Malocclusion, Periodontal Disorders, Temporomandibular Joint Disorders (TMD), Dental Relapse, Sleep Disorders and Sleep Apnea, Tongue Thrust, Chronic Neck and Back Pain, Headaches, GERD, Tinnitus, Vertigo, Grinding, Clenching, or Speech Disorders

The following are contributing factors related to OMDs:

Often the tongue is referred to as the antagonist muscle to the rest of the orofacial muscles and development.  Hostile tongues, which rest between or against the teeth, and incompetent, weak lips are examples of improperly functioning oral musculature. Harmful pressures during biting, chewing, swallowing, tongue thrusting, clenching, or grinding can also occur when there is an OM disorder.

OM Therapy utilizes neuromuscular re-education, stimulation and exercises to recapture a normal dental freeway space, eliminate abnormal muscular pressure on the jaws and teeth, and stabilize the muscles of the mouth and face.

OM Therapy is:

Collaborative treatment with a variety of medical and dental specialists is highly recommended to attend to both the structural issues of the teeth, jaws, tongue, ears, throat, spine, back, hard and soft tissue, as well as muscle function. As most orthopedic professionals would not treat a broken leg without doing physical therapy; dentists, pediatric dentists, orthodontists, periodontists, oral surgeons, and orofacial myologists should collaborate with each other to ensure proper use and function of the muscles of the face, mouth and neck to support the palate, teeth and jaws. OM Therapy can assist in normalizing the functions of breathing, speaking, chewing, drinking and swallowing.

Dental specialists, specifically orthodontists and pediatric dentists, work to promote alignment of the jaws and teeth in the dental arch; hence, creating that perfect smile. The OM therapist works to promote the optimal exertion of inner and outer face and mouth muscular forces, from the lips, cheeks, and tongue. OM disorders are greatly reduced when the teeth are in proper position and the muscles at rest and during function are stabilized.

Collaboration with Other Specialists

  • Identify & eliminate noxious habits of the mouth, which interfere with stable orthodontic results

  • Influence stable results and decrease risk of dental relapse by removing atypical muscular forces and patterns of the tongue

  • Through removing atypical muscular forces & patterns of the tongue, it can reduce the time in fixed appliances

  • Stabilize the dental freeway space (vertical dimension of the mouth) and normalize tongue rest posture against the palatal arch

  • Reduce mouth breathing, teach nasal breathing and remodel the airway through behavioral modification and nasal cleansing when authorized by medical specialists

  • Reinforce compliance with wearing rubber bands, functional appliances, and retainers

  • Develop a healthy muscle matrix

  • Teach proper chewing and swallowing patterns

  • Eliminate habits that contribute to TMD

  • Identify and address forward head and neck posture problems through collaboration with other specialists when needed.


OM therapy can compliment orthodontia in the following manners:

  • Improve stubborn Articulation Disorders

  • Decrease severity and attempt to improve Breathing Disorders due to mouth breathing habits

  • Treat the symptoms contributing to TMD when it is a muscle or habit related issue

  • Improve Digestive Disorders from not chewing properly or swallowing air

  • Reduce the risk of re-attachment of the tongue or lip after surgery to release a tongue- or lip-tie via frenectomy

  • Improve forward head postural problems relating to atypical tongue and mouth postures

  • Assist with faster normalization of the facial muscles and neuromuscular facilitation post orthoganthic surgery.

OMT Can Also Assist in the Following Areas: