Myofunctional Conditions

Many of you may not be familiar with the term “orofacial myology disorder”, often abbreviated as OMDs. Orofacial myology disorders or myofunctional conditions  include one or a combination of the following:


  • Abnormal thumb, finger, lip, and tongue sucking habits

  • An inappropriate open mouth, open lip posture (mouth breathing)

  • A forward rest position of the tongue against the upper and lower teeth

  • Inappropriate thrusting of the tongue in speaking and/or swallowing

  • A crowding of primary and permanent teeth upon eruption

Myofunctional Therapy

Myofunctional therapy is a program of specific exercises that target the orofacial muscles used to chew and swallow. These exercises strengthen the tongue and lips ... In addition, it helps to reinforce the proper position of the tongue within the mouth for optimal craniofacial development, dental occlusion, and nasal breathing.  Myofunctional Therapy is also used to stop negative oral habits such as thumb sucking.

Functional Frenuloplasty

Frenectomy or Frenuloplasty, is a relatively minor surgical procedure performed to loosen or remove overly large, tight, or poorly positioned band(s) of tissue that are present inside the mouth, connected to the lip, cheeks or floor of the mouth (frenum) - a condition commonly referred to as being “tongue-tied” or “ankyloglossia” – which can cause speech impediments and difficulties with chewing, swallowing and other aspects of oral function. In infants, this condition can impair feeding, and for some older children, teens and adults, cause daily discomfort/pain and lead to mouth breathing. Once the tissue has been removed, the wound will typically be sutured. Frenuloplasty is a quick procedure, generally taking less than 45 minutes, and is often performed with just local anesthesia in adults.


Paula Anderson - RDH, QOM


In her dual roles as dental hygienist and office therapist, Paula focuses beyond the health of your teeth to your overall health.  She has worked in the dental profession since 1994. Prior to completing her degree at Illinois Central College in 1999, she served as a dental assistant and office coordinator. Since joining the practice, she has attended continuing education courses in advanced dental procedures such as VIVOS, CEREC®, Invisalign®, oral conscious sedation, and advanced cosmetic dentistry. Paula is a member of American Dental Hygiene Association and Iowa Dental Hygiene Association. Paula is IAOM (International Association or Orofacial Myologist) trained and also a member of the International Association or Orofacial Myologist.

Committed to providing excellent patient education and caring treatment, Paula believes that prevention is the key to a lifetime of good dental health. She believes in whole-body health and strive to achieve patients' maximum physical well-being.

In her free time, she enjoys being with her family and two dogs – Dr. Anderson and their four daughters – especially at their cabin in Wisconsin.

Dr. Emily Hawkins – OTR , LOMT


My name is Emily Hawkins. I am an Occupational Therapist who practices myofunctional therapy. I went through the myofunctional therapy myself and realized how much it has changed my sleep and other aspects of my life. Then looking through my OT lens, I learned how much it plays not only into the dental world but in occupational therapy too. As an occupational therapist, I focus on daily activities of living so for example sleep and breathing are important for day to day life. Therefore, I have taken a special interest in this niche and working with my mother, Paula Anderson at Myo Matters.

Pre-orthodontic Myofunctional Guides- pre-formed guides can be used to reinforce myofunctional therapy at night as well as guide tooth eruption and craniofacial growth.

Before going through myofunctional therapy with Paula, I had a tongue thrust, breathed through my mouth at night, and used a lot of extra facial muscles while swallowing food. Paula was very good at explaining each exercise I had for the week, and went at an easy pace for me to perfect each level of therapy before going to the next one. She speaks very calmly to patients, and I felt extremely comfortable working with her. Even if I didn’t get an exercise exactly right, Paula was so encouraging and I never left her office feeling defeated, just motivated to do it better the next time. After about 12 sessions, I now no longer have my tongue thrust, I breathe exclusively through my nose at night, and I only use necessary muscles for swallowing. Thank you, Myo Matters!

—  Sara C.