• Courtney Huffman

What to Expect at Your Orofacial Myofunctional Assessment

Updated: Sep 8, 2020

Meeting with a new healthcare provider can cause some anxiety, especially when you don't know what to expect at that appointment. In this post, I will share what things should be covered in your initial appointment, so you can feel more at ease and prepared for your visit. *


The first thing you need to know is: new patient appointments take time. When a new patient calls to make an appointment for their first visit, I make sure they know to allot enough time for it. Most therapists, including myself, spend between 1-2 hours with clients for this evaluation. This amount of time may seem surprising, but the initial visit is very comprehensive. If we are going to be successful in your therapy, therapists want to make sure they are not missing anything. In addition, I personally want to make sure you have enough time time to get your questions answered so you can feel comfortable moving forward with any needed therapy.


At Functional Face, I like to spend the first few minutes getting acquainted and getting to know you (or your child) a little better. Next, we'll jump into a review of your case/health history. Many are surprised that we go all the way back to early feeding habits and experiences. This is necessary because frequently this is when the problems started. In addition, on this form you will find questions regarding your general health, eating and oral habits (past and present), your sleep, airway function, dental/orthodontic history, and the like. This questionnaire is a critical piece of finding out the root cause of your symptoms. Finding your "why" helps us make appropriate referrals as needed, create a customized treatment plan, and achieve success in therapy.


An orofacial myologist will guide you through a detailed assessment of your breathing, eating, drinking, and swallowing functions and patterns (and more) at your first myofunctional therapy evaulation.

 

Once we've reviewed your case history and I have gotten a little bit better understanding of your personal situation, the hands-on evaluation starts. In some ways, it's like a visit to the dentist. Someone is up close to your face and mouth, asking you to "open, close" and to do some other, sometimes seemingly silly movements with your face, lips, tongue, and jaws. Measurements, photos, and possibly videos of various mouth and face functions are also taken. Finally, we end with an a screening for speech difficulties and a drink and a snack. The snack part seems to be the favorite for kiddos. They're always ready for a snack, right!? At this point, I am looking at how your muscles are functioning when you chew and swallow. If have any food allergies, it is best to let your therapist now beforehand, because certain types of food work best for this part of the assessment, and appropriate food substitutions need to be made.


Now that the assessment is complete, your therapist should take some time to explain their findings and answer your questions. While I always have some insights to share with my patient regarding their condition before they leave, I find I don't get the complete picture until after I make my assessment notes and review their photos. If it is determined you do have orofacial myofunctional disorders/dysfunctions (OMDs) and need therapy, you will be presented with a treatment plan. Depending on a variety of factors, you may be presented with this information at that initial appointment or a follow up visit. This treatment plan may include a referral to another professional whose services are needed to attain complete resolution of your functional problems or to complement/support therapy goals.


Your Initial Evaluation in Review


So, let's sum things up. At your initial myofunctional therapy appointment you can expect to receive:


- A review of your health/case history forms

- Photographs and videos of facial/oral structures, oral functions, and general face and body alignment

- A comprehensive orofacial examination which includes examination of:

  • Breathing/Respiration

  • Oral Habits

  • Craniofacial/orofacial appearance (ie; symmetry,posture, growth patterns) and function of related muscles and the jaw joint

  • Hard and soft tissues of the mouth

  • Occlusion

  • Tongue function, appearance, and rest position

  • Chewing, drinking, and the oral phase swallow

- A review of assessment findings

- Referrals to additional necessary providers

- Possible presentation of a treatment plan


I hope this helps you feel ready to move forward with that first assessment. To book your initial evaluation with Functional Face please call 812-454-2435 or click here.


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* This post describes the minimum you should expect from an in-office comprehensive orofacial myofunctional assessment. If a therapist has some additional related specialty training they may have more components to the examination. In addition, if an evaluation happens via tele-therapy some adjustments to the evaluation may need to be made.

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